The Minnesota Wild have a new voice behind the bench and they are listening. Two days after John Torchetti was announced as the interim head coach to replace fired Mike Yeo, they were nearly perfect in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Monday at Rogers Arena.
Zach Parise got the scoring started by forcing a turnover by Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski and finished the play with a slap shot from the right face off circle over the left shoulder of Jacob Markstrom. Mikko Koivu poked the puck away from the falling Canucks defender to Parise.
The Canucks (22-21-12) tied the game at the 15:29 of the first period a power play. Christopher Tanev got room outside the crease and deflected Henrik Sedin’s shot over Devan Dubnyk with four seconds left in the man advantage.
The Wild (23-22-10) reclaimed the lead 1 minute, 17 seconds later when a Jared Spurgeon slap shot deflected off Bartkowski’s stick and fluttered over Markstrom. Erik Haula sent a pass from boards to boards in the neutral zone to spring Spurgeon on the rush. Ryan Suter got the puck to Haula to record the second assist.
Justin Fontaine extended the Wild’s lead to 3-1 at the 2:12 mark of the second period. Fontaine took a pass from Haula in the slot and faked a shot to get Markstrom down and out of position. Haula picked up an errant pass at the Canucks and skated toward the corner before getting a passing lane to Fontaine.
The Canucks got back to within a goal again with the man advantage just past the midway point of the second period. Dubnyk stopped a backdoor pass attempt by Henrik Sedin, but it went between his legs into the net.
Charlie Coyle put the Wild back in front by two goals by banking a pass off Tanev while on a power play rush. Spurgeon slid a pass under the stick of Dan Hamhuis on a give-and-go. Suter also recorded his second point of the game with the second assist.
Nino Niederreiter provided the dagger the Wild needed in the third period. The Canucks had their footing and were pressing down by two goals, but the Wild forward blocked a shot at the top of the face off circle to Dubnyk’s right. Christian Folin picked up the puck at the blue line and started a 3-on-2 odd man rush with Mikael Granlund and Niederreiter. Granlund fired a shot that Markstrom after Folin dropped him a pass at the blue line. Niederreiter drove the net and muscled his way through to knock the rebound into the net.
No. 3 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Jared Spurgeon. The Wild defenseman recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 1 – Erik Haula. The Wild forward had two assists.