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Canucks avenge loss by beating Wild 5-1

by John Kreiser

Manny Malhotra and Cory Schneider got a chance to step into the spotlight Friday night.

Malhotra, signed by Vancouver as a checker and faceoff ace, scored twice and rookie goaltender Schneider made 23 saves as the Canucks avenged a blowout loss at Minnesota three days earlier by routing the Wild 5-1.

Schneider, who relieved starter Roberto Luongo and played the third period on Tuesday, made a couple of nice saves in close and has looked good in both of his starts.

"It's great to get playing time, especially with a team like this in front of you," the 24-year-old said.

Coming off a 32-save victory over Carolina in his debut Sunday, Schneider improved his save percentage to .969 early in his first full NHL season after spending most of the last three in the AHL.

"He played the way we expected him to play," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We think he's a good young goalie who's only going to get better."

Raffi Torres, Ryan Kesler and Jeff Tambellini also scored for the Canucks, who were blown out 6-2 at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, then lost 2-1 in a shootout at Chicago the next night. But the Canucks had Thursday off while Minnesota won at Edmonton, and the Wild didn't have nearly as much zip as they did at home.

"I still thought it was a game doing into the third period 2-0," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "I think we gave them opportunities, we gave them goals, just by making poor decisions on the ice."

Torres opened the scoring at the 11-minute mark of the opening period, taking a feed from behind the net and snapping his 100th career goal past Jose Theodore from just above the goal line, a sharp-angled shot that went between the pad and the post.

After the Wild's League-leading power play came up empty on a minute-long 5-on-3 advantage early in the second period, Kesler made it 2-0 at 4:28, banging a rebound past a sprawled Theodore.

Malhotra scored twice in a 5:30 span of the third period. The first came on a backdoor redirection of Alex Edler's slap pass at 11:05, the second on another tip.

"I'm really happy for Manny," Vigneault said. "He's had good contributions, except maybe on the scoresheet. Tonight he was able to get a couple of big goals for us."

After Miettinen spoiled Schneider's shutout bid, Tambellini -- moved up to play on the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin -- scored on a breakaway 15 seconds later.

"It's the best job in hockey," a smiling Tambellini said.

It was Theodore's first appearance for the Wild, who signed the former Hart Trophy winner to back up Niklas Backstrom after Josh Harding went down with hip surgery.

"It was good to be back in net after not having any training camp," Theodore said. "Tonight was a tough loss. I thought they played a solid game for 60 minutes. We have to regroup and work on little details like rebound control, but for most of the game I felt pretty good."

Whatever frustration Richards felt about his team's play didn't carry over to his goaltender.

"He played well," Richards said. "He gave us a chance to get a point or a win here. That's all you can ask of your goalie."

Material from team media was used in this report

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