Minnesota coach Mike Yeo has been urging his players to shoot more and go to the net. On Thursday, he got the kind of results he wanted.
The Wild, who entered the game averaging only 26 shots a game, fired 45 -- the most they've ever taken in a home game -- against Vancouver goaltender Cory Schneider
. More important, five of them went in as Minnesota steamrolled the Canucks 5-1.
"It was a matter of time," Yeo said of the offensive outburst. "We don't expect that every game, but we've been generating some chances. We haven't capitalized on them at the rate that we'd like to, but with that I think offensively we took another step tonight. Hopefully this is a game we can build off of."
gave the Canucks an early lead when he beat Josh Harding
2:20 into the game. But Harding stopped everything else, finishing with 24 saves as the Wild won their third in a row -- all with Harding in goal. He has stopped 98 of 100 shots during the streak.
led the attack with two goals and an assist. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
had a goal and two assists and Guillaume Latendresse
and Marco Scandella
also scored for the Wild.
"Do the right things, and it's going to work," said Cullen, who tied a career high with nine shots on goal and won 13 of 17 faceoffs.
Schneider was under siege all night -- especially in the second period, when the Wild fired 22 shots.
"We gave them some time and space. I know they haven't scored a whole lot this year, but they have quite a few skill players and we saw tonight. They made some pretty nice plays," Schneider said. "We just can't get caught off guard like that."
Yeo has been preaching the joys of shooting the puck to a team that entered the night averaging less than two goals a game. On Thursday, it paid off.
"I'm sure Vancouver's in there saying that they didn't play well," Yeo said, "but I feel we did a lot of things to make them feel that, to make them say that, and part of that is shooting the puck."
The 22 shots in the middle period were more than the Wild had managed in three of their games this season. The Canucks, playing without top-four defenseman Sami Salo
(groin), had no answers.
"We lost 5-1 and our best player by far was our goaltender. That about can sum it up right there," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.
Latendresse scored at 4:47 of the second period to tie the game, and Bouchard beat Schneider 21 seconds later to put Minnesota ahead to stay. Vigneault called his timeout, but Scandella made it 3-1 when he fired a long slap shot past Schneider at 17:05.
Cullen added a pair of insurance goals in the third period of a rare Wild blowout.
It was a stunning loss for the Canucks, who had scored 12 goals in beating Washington and Calgary in their previous two games.
"I think everyone's surprised. This has got to be one of the worst performances I've been a part of in this jersey," defenseman Kevin Bieksa
said. "It was the defense, the goalies, the forwards, everybody, coaches, everyone was involved in this one. We all take the blame for it."
Material from team media was used in this report.