Vancouver Canucks Outlast Minnesota Wild to Win 5-4

Nov 29, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi (47) celebrates his goal against Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper (not pictured) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi (47) celebrates his goal against Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper (not pictured) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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The power play clicked, and Sven Baertschi scored winning goal as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild in a 5-4 track meet.

Was this the Vancouver Canucks‘ plan all along?

Lose nine games in a row, score barely any goals, and lull teams into complacency? Trick the other guys into sitting Vezina trophy finalists on the bench in favour of the backup goalie?

Well, tonight that plan worked beautifully.

The Minnesota Wild gave starter Devan Dubnyk the night off. Dubnyk has only allowed 28 goals in 17 games this season. In his place came Darcy Kuemper, who has below-average numbers.

Both Kuemper and Ryan Miller‘s numbers will be a little bit worse after tonight. But fans at Rogers Arena were treated to a entertaining hockey game.

Final Score:

5. 104. 4. 98. Final

Wild Take the First Period

The Canucks had opened the scoring in four straight games. That streak ended tonight as Jason Pominville scored on Miller, who was his former Buffalo Sabre teammate:

More from The Canuck Way

Luca Sbisa seems to be adapting to the number one defenseman job just fine, no?

Jokes aside, losing Alexander Edler and Chris Tanev at the same time puts all the Canucks D in a tough spot. Sbisa is now the oldest and most experienced blueliner in the lineup.

So, just as he was looking comfortable and — dare I say it — effective in a bottom-pair role, he is forced to take on added responsibility which he just isn’t suited for. The Canucks will just have to make the best of it for the next few weeks until Tanev is healthy.

Henrik Sedin thought he had tied the game in the first period. But Minnesota won a challenge for goaltender interference, and the goal was called back. Brandon Sutter did make contact with Kuemper, which was enough to see the goal overturned:

Canucks Strike Back in the Second

After Henrik’s goal was disallowed, Pominville added insult to injury, doubling the Wild lead:

The Wild have the fourth-best goal differential in the league so far this season. So, after going up 2-0 it looked like this could be a long night for Vancouver.

The Sedins conspired to keep that from happening.

Sutter atoned for his goaltender interference, by tipping a Troy Stecher shot to get his team on the board with a power play goal:

Two minutes later, with the Wild shorthanded again, Ben Hutton found a loose puck in the crease and roofed it to tied the game:

Henrik assisted on both goals. Those two assists bring him that much closer to 1000 points. He now needs only 16 more to reach the milestone.

All Hell Breaks Lose in the Third

It seemed far-fetched that Vancouver could win a high-scoring game against a tough opponent. But the 2016-17 Canucks continue to surprise.

The home team kept rolling in the third. Loui Eriksson continued his hot streak, scoring his sixth of the year two minutes into the period:

59 seconds later, Bo Horvat then tipped in a shot from Sbisa to give the Canucks a two goal cushion:

There was some confusion on who tipped the shot. Both Baertschi and Horvat had their sticks in the area. The goal was given to Horvat, making it his team-leading eighth of the year.

The last time Vancouver had a multi-goal lead against a Central Division opponent, it was the Chicago Blackhawks. We all know where that lead went.

Well, the Canucks set fire to this lead too.

After scoring their fourth they pressed the issue in the Wild zone during the next shift. But, one turnover led to Jason Zucker walking in alone on Miller, and pulling off a sweet backhand move:

That goal came 72 seconds after the last one. Goals were coming fast and furious. The Canucks were able to hold off the Wild for only a little while longer.

Sbisa was not the only defenseman who made an unfortunate gaffe tonight. Erik Gudbranson tried to block a Ryan Suter shot soccer-style — but he instead deflected it past Miller for the tying goal:

Whoops.

Baertschi Nets the Winner

Still, the Canucks decided tonight was not a night for a three-point game. With less than three minutes to go, Baertschi put the Canucks ahead for good:

This Canucks goal was almost identical to the previous: a shot from the point with both Baertschi and Horvat standing in front. Stecher earned his second assist.

All in all, four Canucks had multi-point games: Stecher, Henrik, Sutter and Hutton. Despite giving up four goals, Miller was solid and made 38 saves.

Next: Edler Out 4-6 Weeks

Injuries have stretched Vancouver lineup very thin, but they banded together to win tonight against a tough opponent.

The Vancouver Canucks have won two in a row for the first time since October. Their next game on is against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.