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game recap

Torchetti wins in Wild debut

Minnesota ends eight-game skid with victory vs. Canucks

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

Parise unleashes top-shelf goal

MIN@VAN: Parise fires a slap shot to open the scoring

2/15/16: Zach Parise collects the turnover and roofs a wicked slap shot past Jacob Markstrom to give the Wild an early lead

  • 00:47 •

VANCOUVER -- If there was any question whether things were going to be different for the Minnesota Wild under John Torchetti, it ended when he reached for the smelling salts behind the bench before his first game Monday.

With Torchetti in their ears from start to finish, the Wild dominated early and got goals from five players in a 5-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, giving their new coach a win in his debut.

"It's to get me going," Torchetti said of the smelling salts. "I've just always done it, as a player and as a coach. That's my only superstition, so I have to keep it."

Torchetti got his new players going with constant ­reinforcement on the bench, directing change while trying to keep things positive for the Wild, who had lost eight straight.

"He's always talking, always going over stuff," said Charlie Coyle, whose power-play goal with 6:39 left in the second period put the Wild ahead 4-2. "He still keeps the mood light, but he lets you know when he wants things done differently in a positive way."

Video: MIN@VAN: Spurgeon's slap shot handcuffs Markstrom

Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon, Justin Fontaine and Nino Niederreiter also scored for the Wild (24-22-10), whose eight-game losing streak cost former coach Mike Yeo his job Saturday. Erik Haula and Ryan Suter each had two assists, and Minnesota scored more than four goals for the first time since Dec. 17 and won for the second time in 15 games.

Parise said the Wild fed off the energy of their animated new coach. 

"It kept us into the game. It kept life in there," Parise said. "You're held accountable to make the right play all the time."

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves to end a personal nine-game losing streak.

"I was holding out hope that it was going to happen again," Dubnyk said. "It would have been nice if it was a little sooner, but I think the feeling that we had, the way we worked in the first period, we just weren't going to be denied."

Video: MIN@VAN: H. Sedin's no-look pass deflects past Dubnyk

Christopher Tanev and Henrik Sedin scored power-play goals, and Jacob Markstrom made 29 saves for the Canucks (22-22-12), who have two wins in their past eight games and have lost five straight games on home ice.

"At home, there are too many guys trying to push for offense," said Daniel Sedin, adding the defensive focus is better on the road. "You have to play the right way. We are a different team on the road than we are at home."

The Wild looked like a different team with Torchetti behind the bench, especially early.

Torchetti, who was promoted from Iowa of the American Hockey League, wasted little time making changes in his first game as an NHL coach since 2005-06, switching three forward lines and two defense pairings. 

The moves paid off early. The Wild were outshooting the Canucks 12-2 when Parise opened the scoring 9:31 into the first period after bumping defenseman Matt Bartkowski off the puck as he tried to skate out of the Vancouver end. Parise beat Markstrom with a hard slap shot over the glove-side shoulder from the left faceoff dot for his first goal in nine games.

Video: MIN@VAN: Coyle's redirected pass beats Markstrom

"Right from the start of the game, there was a lot of energy from us," Parise said. "There was life in the room and on the bench."

Tanev tied it on the power play with 4:31 left in the first when he scored on a deflection, but Spurgeon put the Wild ahead for good off the rush 1:17 later with his first goal in 16 games. Back after missing three games with a deep bruise, Spurgeon's shot off the boards near the top of the faceoff circle deflected off Bartkowski's stick and caught Markstrom moving, going over his right shoulder as ducked the other way.

The Wild were outshooting Vancouver 19-4 when Fontaine made it 3-1 at 2:12 of the second period after a cross-ice pass from Haula put him in alone.

"Just keep attacking the net, have fun on offense, control the puck, be a little bit poised in our cycles, which equals puck possession," Torchetti said.

As for all the talking he did on the bench, Torchetti said it was all about the "little stuff, details" that ranged from winning puck battles to talking to new linemates. The key was keeping any criticism constructive.

"When you take over jobs, there is a reason why you are here and you just have to make sure to try and build confidence in the team and pat them on the back here and there, but also let them know if there is a different play that is an option," Tochetti said. "I've been there. We're not winning, so I'm not going to be all over you hard, but I think I can still do a good job holding you accountable but also giving you better options."

Video: MIN@VAN: Fontaine finishes Haula's feed for 3-1 lead

Henrik Sedin closed the gap on the power play midway through the second period with his first goal in 21 games. It also gave the Canucks two power-play goals in the same game for the first time since Nov. 21 and ended a 1-for-21 slump over 11 games.

Vancouver had a chance to tie it on another power play 30 seconds later, but it ended early with a penalty to center Bo Horvat, and Coyle scored on the ensuing power play.

"After we scored the second goal, I felt we took over the game," Henrik Sedin said. "When they scored the fourth one, it's uphill again. That's the way it's been lately."

Niedereitter scored on a rebound with 3:12 left. 

Torchetti, who has been an assistant for three NHL teams, is 3-0-0 in his first game as an interim coach. He also won his debut with the Florida Panthers in 2003-04 and the Los Angeles Kings in 2005-06.  

"Enjoy the moment," Torchetti said when asked what's next. "They haven't had a good time. Enjoy your buddy for working hard tonight for you, and we'll build on it tomorrow and into the next game."

Video: Wild win in Torchetti's debut, end skid at eight

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