|MIN||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|VAN||1||0||1||(0 - 0)||2|
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -If Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo knew whether the puck was in the net, he wasn't telling. The Wild were pretty sure it crossed the line, but not all were talking.
Mattias Ohlund scored the winner on a power play midway through the third period to lift Vancouver to a 2-1 victory over the Wild on Saturday night, but it was the goal that didn't count for Minnesota that had everyone talking afterwards.
With the game tied early in the second period, Pascal Dupuis's rebound shot hit Henrik Sedin and bounced off Luongo's mask as he fell into the net. The mask appeared to be in the net, but replays didn't clearly show the puck over the goal line.
"That's a secret between me and the puck and I'm not going to tell anybody," said Luongo, who made 24 of his 28 saves in the first two periods.
Wild general manager Doug Risebrough had an animated, profanity-laced argument over the disallowed goal with one of the off-ice officials in the media box during the second intermission. Coach Jacques Lemaire refused to talk after the game except to a pair of Minnesota newspaper reporters, but Dupuis said replays told the story.
"Not a doubt in my mind, not at all, he said.
"After seeing it, you can clearly see it went off his mask and it was behind the goal line," added Brian Rolston. "It's just one of those things, if they can't see it conclusively I guess it's no goal. It's a tough break for us obviously, especially on the road. We deserved better tonight."
Instead of being ahead after out-shooting Vancouver 25-11 through two periods, the Wild fell behind after Martin Skoula was called for tripping 8:54 into the third. A minute later, Ohlund cruised into the slot, took Henrik Sedin's pass out of the corner and snapped a quick shot over Niklas Backstrom's right shoulder and just inside the seam of the post and cross bar.
Henrik and brother Daniel Sedin each had two assists as the Canucks' 23rd-ranked power play went 2-for-5 against Minnesota's second-ranked penalty killing. The identical twins also set up Trevor Linden late in the first as Vancouver won a third-straight game for just the second time all season.
"As long as the puck movement is quick, it's easy to play power play," Daniel said. "Once you slow down and take your time they re all over you."
The Canucks have won four of five to leapfrog the Wild into a top-eight spot in the Western Conference. The teams play again in Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Pavol Demitra scored for the Wild, who were swept on a three-game trip through Western Canada and now have one regulation win in the last 20 games. Since beating Vancouver 5-2 on Nov. 2, five of Minnesota's six wins have been in overtime or a shootout, a stretch that includes seven straight road losses.
"For the past month it's like this. We play well but don't get what we deserve," said Backstrom, the rookie goaltender from Finland who made 16 saves in his first start in six games. "That s hockey. We just have to keep working and hopefully we get the breaks in the future and turn this ship around."
Linden opened the scoring on a power play with 4:30 left in the first period after a pretty give-and-go between the Sedins in the corner that ended with Daniel dishing to Linden for a backdoor tap-in.
"They rotated the puck well and I just tried to find position and as usual it was a perfect pass and an easy goal," Linden said of his first since opening night.
Demitra tied it 2:29 into the second period, pulling up just inside the blue line and beating Luongo to his glove side with a long slap shot. Luongo apologized at the bench after the next break, then made up for it by stopping Nick Schultz on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box, and robbing Pierre-Marc Bouchard as the Canucks killed off a 34-second 5-on-3 late in the second.
"Luongo kept us in the game the first two periods," said Linden. "The first two periods were not acceptable but we did what we had to do to get the win."
Notes: After playing eight of the last nine at home, Vancouver is on the road for six of the next seven. ... Backstrom came in with a 2.02 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, better than No.1 Manny Fernandez, who is 12-11-0 with a 2.82 and .906. ... Vancouver LW Taylor Pyatt returned after missing four games with a shoulder injury. Tyler Bouck was sent to Manitoba of the AHL.
|PPG - Trevor Linden (2) Tip-in - ASST: Daniel Sedin (19), Henrik Sedin (27)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Pavol Demitra (7) Slapshot - ASST: Kim Johnsson (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Mattias Ohlund (5) Slapshot - ASST: Henrik Sedin (28), Daniel Sedin (20)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Brent Burns Boarding|
|Kevin Bieksa Hooking|
|Todd White Hooking|
|Mattias Ohlund Holding|
|Mikko Koivu Tripping|
|Yannick Tremblay Hooking|
|Nick Schultz Holding|
|Jan Bulis Roughing|
|Kevin Bieksa Roughing|
|Martin Skoula Tripping|
|Matt Cooke Interference|
|Kim Johnsson Holding the stick|
|Henrik Sedin Holding|