Baertschi’s late goal lifts Canucks past Wild
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Minnesota Wild allowed a league-low 41 goals coming into the Tuesday night game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Somehow, the Canucks, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league, defeated the Wild 5-4 at Rogers Arena.
“We definitely didn’t draw it up that way,” said Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter, who had a power-play goal and an assist. “They’re pretty tight in their own zone.”
Sven Baertschi scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:35 remaining in the third period as the Canucks completed a comeback from a 2-0 deficit.
Ben Hutton also scored on the power play for Vancouver. Loui Eriksson and Bo Horvat also notched goals for the Canucks (10-11-2), while Henrik Sedin and Troy Stecher had two assists apiece.
Baertschi’s winner was a fitting end to a game that saw plenty of goals scored on deflections and odd bounces. Stecher sent a slap pass wide of the net that Baertschi somehow got a stick on to deflect past Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Baertschi scored his third goal of the season and his second in his past two games.
”I’ve been playing some good hockey,“ said Baertschi, who plays on a line with Horvat and Alex Burrows. ”That’s what I‘m all about.
“Pucks are going in as of late. That’s a good sign. Our line has been really consistent. Bo’s been really hot, and the same with Burrows. I was able to feed off them tonight.”
Canucks coach Willie Desjardins was pleased Baertschi found his scoring touch after starting the year without a goal in 13 games.
“I probably talked to him a little bit, but there is nothing I am going to say that can change him,” Desjardins said. “The thing a coach can do is give him opportunity, and that’s the one thing we did.”
Jason Pominville had two goals for Minnesota. Erik Haula and Jason Zucker also scored for the Wild (11-8-3).
It was a strange game with plenty of momentum shifts.
The Wild were on top 2-0 early in the second period thanks to Pominville’s goals. The Canucks erased that lead with power-play goals 1:59 apart by Sutter and Hutton, leaving the score 2-2 after two periods.
There were five goals in the third period. Eriksson and Horvat scored 59 seconds apart for a 4-2 Canucks lead. The Wild fought back with a breakaway goal by Zucker at 3:20 and Haula deflecting a point shot from Ryan Suter at 14:11.
Vancouver goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 38 shots. Kuemper, making his second start in eight games for Minnesota, stopped 30 shots.
“It was a bizarre game,” Kuemper said. “Goals and tips, weird bounces. I don’t think anyone is very happy about it.”
Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said the usually defensive-sound Wild played horribly in their own end.
“I don’t know why,” said Boudreau. “It’s not like we’ve changed anything. We got the 2-0 lead and it was like we (thought) this was going to be an easy game.”
Pominville said the Wild gave up too many scoring chances.
”That shouldn’t happen,“ he said. ”We have to find a way to not give up those chances, clog it up and be better with leads.
“They won a game. It’s not good enough.”
The Canucks are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. Vancouver, which beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime Saturday night, won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season with four consecutive wins.
It also the first time Vancouver scored two power-play goals in a game since an Oct. 22 loss to Los Angeles.
“We’re playing good hockey right now,” Sutter said. “We had a good road trip. To come home and get that win in a back-and-forth (game) is huge. We’re just trying to get it going.”
NOTES: LW Sven Baertschi returned to the Canucks lineup after missing two games with a foot injury. ... Vancouver D Alex Edler (broken finger) is out up to six weeks. ... With D Chris Tanev (lower body) also out of the lineup, Vancouver dressed the youngest defensive corps in the league with four players 24 years old or younger. ... Canucks D Alex Biega, recalled from a conditioning assignment with the AHL Utica Comets, was a healthy scratch along with C Joseph Labate. ... The Canucks continue a three-game homestand Thursday against Anaheim. ... D Gustav Olofsson, recalled from Iowa of the AHL on Sunday, made his season debut with the Wild. ... Minnesota D Nate Prosser was a healthy scratch. ... Minnesota assistant coach Darby Hendrickson played 27 games with the Canucks in 1998-99. ... D Jared Spurgeon celebrated his 27th birthday. ... Wild C Mikael Granlund is the older brother of Vancouver C Markus Granlund. ... Minnesota plays its second of four games in Canada on Friday in Calgary.