Thursday, October 23, 2014

Canucks keep hopes alive

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Vancouver Canucks are at the point in the season where every loss could end their playoff hopes.
Those hopes are still alive after a big road win over Minnesota.

David Booth scored two unassisted goals, and Eddie Lack made 29 saves, to lead Vancouver over the Wild 5-2 last night.
Zack Kassian, Daniel Sedin, and Ryan Kesler also scored for Vancouver as the Canucks try to make a late push to overtake Phoenix and Dallas for the Western Conference’s final wild-card playoff spot.
“It’s huge; we’re in a do-or-die position,” stressed Alexandre Burrow.
“If we would have lost this game, we probably would have been out of the race.”
Minnesota outshot Vancouver 31-19 and got goals from Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter, but lost its third-straight at home.
Booth scored for the second-consecutive game after going scoreless in his previous 32.
On his first goal, Booth took the puck the length of the ice after a face-off and fired it past Darcy Kuemper.
Booth’s second goal broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and came after Jared Spurgeon whiffed on a pass in the Wild zone—leading to a bad turnover and a point-blank look for Booth.
“We didn’t generate a ton of shots but we were able to capitalize on the ones we did,” Booth noted.
Minnesota—currently holding the first wild-card spot in the West—controlled play for most of the first two periods, but failed to capitalize on four power plays and fell behind 3-1.
Even though his team was generating chances early, Wild coach Mike Yeo was nervous.
“Especially in that first period, we’re out-chancing them, we’re outshooting them, but still.
“Just didn’t quite have the right feel,” he noted.
Ilya Bryzgalov took over for the slumping Kuemper after two periods.
Kuemper allowed three goals in 12 shots—the fifth time in his last seven start he’s allowed at least three goals.
“Don’t feel good about that one,” Kuemper said.
“Obviously, we were controlling the play and to find ourselves down 3-1, yeah, I’ve got to help the guys out a little bit better.”
The switch didn’t get Minnesota going. Vancouver killed an early third-period power play, then put the game away on Sedin’s goal at 11:12 to make it 4-1.
“I didn’t think we played great, but we stuck with it and at the end we came out with a big win,” Sedin noted.
“For sure, it’s something to build.”
The goal was Sedin’s first in his last 23 games, and his first point in his last 13.
Coyle’s goal was his third in three games. The centre had scored only once in his previous 24 games.
Lack got a little help in the second period from Alexander Edler.
Zach Parise stuffed the puck between Lack’s pads, but Edler swept it away just before it crossed the goal line.
“We know it’s do-or-die now, and we got to come up with the same kind of effort tomorrow,” Lack stressed.
Vancouver has won six of its last nine after losing 11-of-12.
Both Phoenix and Dallas were idle yesterday.
The Canucks now have 78 points while Phoenix has 82 and Dallas 79.
Meanwhile, as Minnesota tries to hang on to its playoff position, Yeo has to answer questions about his goaltending situation.
“I want to be careful on that one,” he remarked. “I’m not saying that we can’t be any better between the pipes, but at the same time there’s some quality chances that we’re giving up.
“Obviously, we have to do our part to make sure those guys are in the right frame of mind.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Anaheim edged Calgary 3-2 and the N.Y. Rangers beat Philadelphia 3-1.

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