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Postgame Hat Trick: Canucks 1, Wild 0

Virtanen's third-period goal the only offense in stingy defensive effort by both teams

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 1-0 loss against the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Tuesday night:

1. The feelings on Tuesday's game were nearly unanimous in the dressing room: Minnesota played a strong first period, then saw its game slip from there.

The Wild outshot the Canucks 11-6 in the opening 20 and had its best scoring chances of the evening but was unable to finish the job. Minnesota, which boasted the NHL's best power play coming into the night, was given an opportunity just 2:58 into the game when Alex Burmistrov was banished to the sin bin for two minutes after slashing his opponent. 

Minnesota had a couple of quality chances but couldn't score. 

"It was a weird game," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. "We had a few good power-play chances in the first and we had some good puck possession, but we couldn't seem to get too much chaos around the net. That's them doing a good job as well too."

Vancouver played its best period of the night in the second, a common theme through its first couple weeks this season.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame vs Canucks

"I thought the first period we played really good and the second period they played really good. That's hockey," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "We knew their second period was their best period so far this year. We knew they were going to come out. They are a good skating club. Like I said between the second and third period to these guys, 'They outplayed us. We got outplayed that period. We are just going to have to pick it up and play to win.'"

Minnesota outshot Vancouver 8-5 in the third, but the Canucks scored the only goal when Jake Virtanen buried a rebound chance after his initial shot was blocked by Jared Spurgeon. 

Video: Locker Room Postgame vs Vancouver

"I think we were a bit sloppy through the neutral zone. I think I made a few turnovers in the neutral zone. We just got to be better," said Wild forward Jason Zucker. "It's very disappointing [to start the homestand with a loss]. It's not the way we wanted it to be, not the way we wanted to start it. We've got to regroup, watch some video and be ready to go for the next one."

2. On a positive note, for a second consecutive game, Minnesota's defensive effort was solid.

After allowing four goals or more in four of the first five games of the regular season, the Wild has surrendered just three goals over its past two games. 

More often than not, that will be enough to win plenty of hockey games this season. 

Dubnyk was screened on the only goal Tuesday and otherwise played a rock-solid game behind a stingy defensive crew. He finished with 24 saves in a losing effort.

"I thought [the defensive effort] was good. I thought our first period was good, got away from us a little bit in the second, a little run-and-gun. And that's fine, there's going to be flows in games," Dubnyk said. "But any time you give up one, it's obviously a pretty good effort defensively by everybody. That was certainly the case tonight."

3. Before the game, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher addressed the news of the day; Zach Parise will miss the next 8-10 weeks after having successful microdiscectomy surgery on Tuesday morning at TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington.

Video: Chuck Fletcher on Zach Parise

"I haven't spoken with him. I heard the surgery went well. Just giving him some time and space," Fletcher said. "He's optimistic. Hopefully, this will help his quality of life and get him back on the ice shortly."

Parise, who missed the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs because of back injury, has been experiencing some discomfort in recent weeks. After doing everything he could to avoid a surgical procedure, Parise decided having surgery was the best option at this time.

The club believes he should return to 100 percent health later this season and that it won't affect him moving forward. 

"Statistically, the doctors say he'll be fine, he'll come back and play," Fletcher said. "There's no guarantees, but there are several other players in the NHL that have had this surgery and played. Lots of people in life have had this surgery, many of my friends, my wife's had it. Everyone's been able to get back to normal. 

"Again, there's no guarantees. But we're pretty confident that he'll be in a good place in a few weeks."


Loose Pucks

• Wild forward Justin Kloos made his NHL debut and earned 8:39 of ice time. He also committed his first penalty, a holding call 3:19 into the third period.

Video: Wild Prank Rookie Kloos During Warmups

• Canucks goaltender Anders Nilsson made 29 saves for his second shutout in three starts this season and fifth of his career.

• Wild forwards Tyler Ennis and Joel Eriksson Ek led all shooters with five shots on goal apiece. Boudreau said Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin were the team's best players.

• Wild forward Mikael Granlund returned from a groin injury that cost him five games. He had 18:49 of ice time, second most among Wild forwards (Mikko Koivu).

• Vancouver finished its five-game road trip with a 4-1 record.  

• Attendance: 18,694


He Said It

"We let them off the hook too many times. I don't think that's anywhere near the pace and the way we want to play. It's something we've got to fix." -- Wild forward Jason Zucker


They Said It

"You've got to win games different ways. This is a good Minnesota team, their structure is good. It's hard to get scoring chances against them, and we knew that going in, that we'd have to play a 60-minute game if we wanted to win. And we did." -- Canucks head coach Travis Green


Three Stars

* Anders Nilsson 

** Jake Virtanen

*** Devan Dubnyk

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