VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -In a tight Northwest Division race where every point is key, Roberto Luongo and Daniel Sedin got the Vancouver Canucks an important extra one.
Sedin beat Nicklas Backstrom, and Luongo stopped Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Canucks a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
Luongo, who made 28 saves in regulation and overtime, forced Marian Gaborik to shoot high in the fifth round before getting a glove on Bouchard's high backhand to clinch the win and move the Canucks two points ahead of both Minnesota and Calgary atop the Northwest.
"It's good he went high to the glove side because that's one of my better points, Luongo said. "It's huge because they were right behind us and breathing down our necks. We gave them a point but we're able to get two on our side so we'll take those and we're pretty happy with that.
Vancouver improved to 14-5 in overtime, including 5-3 in shootouts.
"There's a lot of tight games, Sedin said. "A lot of games going into overtime and shootouts and if we hadn't won those we wouldn't be in the race now.
Minnesota would know: It was the Wild's NHL-leading 22nd overtime game this season. They are 10-6 in shootouts, and 15-1-6 overall after regulation.
"It's tough when you lose a game but you have to look at the whole picture, Backstrom said. "This point can be huge in the future."
Minnesota got the point after Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson tied it on a power play with 5:31 left. Branko Radivojevic and Gaborik also scored for the Wild, who fell to 7-1-3 in the past 11 games.
The Canucks got to overtime because of tough guy Jeff Cowan, who had gone 52 games without a goal before scoring on a short-handed breakaway against Phoenix on Thursday, scored two goals for the first time in his 350-game career.
"It felt really good to be able to chip in again and help the team," Cowan said.
"It was a playoff-type game and a huge two points for us in the shootout."
Sami Salo also scored as Vancouver improved to 8-1-1 in its past 10 games.
"Both teams seemed to be on a roll and when both teams have it going and face each other, it makes for an intense game," Wild defenseman Keith Carney said. "Both teams want to win the division and get the best possible playoff seed."
Backstrom was back in the Minnesota net after missing one game after tweaking his groin the game before that and played well, stopping 32 shots in regulation and overtime.
"A lot of shots, but that's the way they like to play and for me it helped to get back in the rhythm and get back in the game after being gone a couple of days, he said. "Get a lot of shots, feel the puck and don't have to think too much."
Radivojevic opened the scoring 6:55 in after Luongo misplayed Todd White's soft shot off the wing. It was the ninth goal of the season for Radivojevic, and fifth against the Canucks.
Salo sent a point shot past a screened Backstrom with two minutes left in the first period, but Gaborik put the Wild ahead again after a scramble in the Canucks crease just 40 seconds into the second period. With Luongo down after a spin move by Mikko Koivu in the slot, Gaborik outbattled defenseman Kevin Bieksa to slide his 23rd goal - and ninth in the past 10 games - into an empty net.
That's when Cowan took advantage of a promotion from the fourth to third line. He tied the game 2:44 into the second by deflecting a point shot by ex-Wild defenseman Willie Mitchell, and fought off a check in the high slot to tip another Mitchell shot past Backstrom 10 minutes later.
"Just get to the net and create some havoc and try to get body position," said Cowan, whose 14:49 of ice time was double his average. "When you're out there consistently you get in the game a little more. It's hard when you're only playing five minutes a night, it's hard to get into that."
Notes:Minnesota C Dominic Moore, acquired from Pittsburgh just before Tuesday's trade deadline, was a healthy scratch, avoiding his first game on the same ice where brother Steve Moore was hit by ex-Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi almost exactly three years earlier, leaving him with a concussion, broken bones in his neck and unable still to resume playing. Wild RW Mark Parrish was named captain for a second straight month earlier in the day, but didn't play after suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury Thursday. Wild G Manny Fernandez, out since Jan. 30 with a knee injury, has resumed practicing and could return later this week.