VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Anson Carter provided the Vancouver Canucks with a memorable ending to an otherwise forgettable game.
Carter scored a power-play goal with 6.1 seconds left to give Vancouver a crucial 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
"After watching Minnesota lull Edmonton to sleep last night we knew it would be a difficult game emotionally," said Carter. "You can't play the score, you have to play like it's going to be 1-0. A boring game just like watching paint dry."
For a while it looked like that tactic would work again for the Wild, who beat Edmonton on Tuesday and were eager to steal important playoff points from another Northwest Division rival. But after failing to record a shot on their first four power plays, Daniel Sedin's pass through the crease left Carter with an open net and he slammed his 30th goal of the season past a helpless Manny Fernandez.
"I didn't know how much time was left," said Sedin, who also scored for the Canucks. "It was nice to look up at the scoreboard after the goal and see 6 seconds left.
Alex Auld finished with 20 saves to help Vancouver win for the fourth time in five games and move into a tie with Anaheim for sixth place in the Western Conference.
"For our hockey club it was a big goal regardless of how much time is left on the clock because it's two points", said Carter. "Just to get any points in this game is huge and to get two is even bigger."
The win moves Vancouver two points ahead of eighth-place Edmonton. The Canucks wrap up a five-game homestand with a rematch against the Wild on Friday.
"We want to knock these guys out of the playoffs," said Minnesota forward Wes Walz. "We have a good rivalry with this team and we're not going to fold up our tents and pack it up, we re going to play hard all the way through."
Brian Rolston scored for a fifth straight game and Fernandez made 29 saves for the Wild, who have lost nine of 13 games since the Olympic break to fall nine points out of the playoff race with nine games left to play.
Still, the Wild played Vancouver tough, trailing for just 40 seconds before Carter's late goal despite playing for a second straight night.
Sedin opened the scoring after identical twin brother Henrik's shot was stopped and the rebound ricocheted along the goal line. It was finally cleared by the Wild, but right to Daniel cruising at the top the crease, where he snapped his career-best 21st goal of the season into an empty net.
Rolston tied it 40 seconds later with his career-high 32nd. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle caught Auld on the left shoulder before sifting down through his equipment and trickling over the goal line.
Fernandez had several spectacular saves making his 11th-straight start. He robbed Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund on consecutive shots 2 minutes into the second and sprawled to get a pad on Alexandre Burrows' backhand a few minutes later.
Midway through the third he stuffed Todd Bertuzzi in tight and got a break when Burrows hit the post on a two-on-one as the Canucks turned up the pressure midway through the third. Wild center Marc Chouinard took a penalty on the next shift, but that actually afforded Fernandez a break as Vancouver failed to record a shot for a fourth straight power play.
Things changed, however, after Mikko Koivu was whistled for hooking with 1:34 left as the Canucks made some adjustments they talked about between periods and finally produced some shots. Fernandez easily handled the first two - sharp-angle wrist shots from Naslund and Morrison - but had no chance on Carter's.
"If you have a net presence that guy in the front of the net can't attack the corner guy as fast or as hard as he was in the first two periods," said Carter. "That s exactly what happened. Danny and Hank (Henrik) controlled the puck, I was in front and the D-man couldn't attack Danny down low and he was able to make a great pass on my stick."
Notes: Burrows was given a 10-minute misconduct after the game for flipping the puck at Walz, which touched off a large post-buzzer scrum between the two teams. ... Minnesota was 0-for-2 on the power play. ... Vancouver LW Matt Cooke missed the game after suffering a concussion on a high hit from Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown during Monday night's 7-4 win over the Kings. Cooke already missed 17 games this season after an errant practice shot broke his jaw and another 11 after spraining his ankle in practice. ... The victory gives the Canucks (40-28-6) their fourth consecutive 40-win season. Vancouver has won five of the first seven meetings this season.
|Daniel Sedin (21) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 VAN
|Brian Rolston (32) ASST: Wes Walz (16), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (40)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Anson Carter (30) ASST: Daniel Sedin (45), Henrik Sedin (53)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Mikko Koivu Hooking|
|Marian Gaborik Cross checking|
|Brendan Morrison Holding|
|Marc Chouinard Tripping|
|Ryan Kesler Tripping|
|Daniel Tjarnqvist Holding|
|Mikko Koivu Hooking|
|Alexandre Burrows Misconduct (10 min)|