VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A big advantage on special teams was the difference Tuesday night for the Minnesota Wild.
Ryan Suter and Jason Zucker scored 55 seconds apart late in the second period and the Wild converted on all three of their power plays, beating the staggering Vancouver Canucks 3-2 to stop a three-game slide.
“Three goals on the power play, that’s the recipe for a win on the road. It’s a good two points for us,” said Mikael Granlund, who had two assists.
Zach Parise also scored for the Wild, and Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves.
Josh Leivo scored on his first shot in a Vancouver uniform. Tyler Motte also had a goal for the young Canucks, who have lost 12 of 13. Anders Nilsson stopped 25 shots.
“Our team hasn’t got the results and it’s hard when you don’t win,” coach Travis Green said. “But I’ll give our team credit — they’re going out and competing. They’re not letting themselves not show up. And that’s hard when you haven’t won in a while.”
Minnesota has 11 power-play goals in its last 10 games and ranks ninth in the NHL with the man advantage.
Meanwhile, the Canucks went 0 for 3 on the power play. Vancouver also has spent 325 minutes in the penalty box this season, more than any other team. The Canucks’ penalty kill is ranked 27th in the league.
“We’ve got to find a way to get a puck out,” Green said. “We’re well aware that we’ve got to tighten it up.”
Leivo put Vancouver on the board 7:02 into the game. He collected a pass from rookie sensation Elias Pettersson in the slot and flipped the puck over Dubnyk’s blocker.
“He’s got eyes in the back of his head and sometimes when you least expect it, it’s on your tape,” Leivo said. “So I’ve just got to be ready whenever he’s got the puck.”
The 25-year-old left wing was traded to Vancouver from Toronto on Monday for AHL forward Michael Carcone. Leivo had four goals and two assists in 27 games for the Maple Leafs this season.
The Wild responded on the first power play of the night after Canucks defenseman Michael Del Zotto was called for tripping.
Just 15 seconds into the penalty, Matt Dumba took a hard shot from the top of the faceoff circle and Parise deflected the puck past Nilsson to tie it.
The Canucks got off to a slow start in the second period, going more than eight minutes without a shot on goal. But then Tim Schaller got the puck to Motte in front and the center swept it in past Dubnyk.
Minnesota came back with two power-play goals less than a minute apart.
Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was first to the penalty box, getting called for interference. A minute later, Del Zotto got caught cross-checking, handing the Wild a two-man advantage.
Minnesota was quick to capitalize, with Suter taking a hard shot that beat Nilsson.
Less than a minute later, Zucker put the Wild up 3-2.
Granlund assisted on both goals and is riding a three-game point streak.
The Canucks outshot the Wild 14-5 in the third period but couldn’t get the puck past Dubnyk.
NOTES: The second period closed with a scuffle after Canucks left wing Jake Virtanen was nailed hard from behind along the end boards by Greg Pateryn. Virtanen was slow to get up and left the ice leaning over on his stick for support. He returned early in the third. Pateryn was called for boarding. … Jay Beagle played 8:33 in his return to the Canucks’ lineup. The veteran center missed 24 games after breaking his forearm when he blocked a shot against Florida on Oct. 13. … Vancouver re-assigned Sam Gagner to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Gagner had one goal and two assists in seven games with the Canucks. … Vancouver right wing Nikolay Goldobin was a healthy scratch. Green said the 23-year-old needed a “reset” and was working on various aspects of his game. Goldobin is third in scoring for the Canucks with 16 points.
Wild: Play at Calgary on Thursday night.
Canucks: Wrap up a five-game homestand Thursday against Nashville.
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