Wild start strong, finish with nothing in 2-0 loss to Canucks

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune on

Published in Hockey

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Minnesota Wild could have played with an empty net for most of the first period.

Not until nearly 14 minutes had elapsed did the Canucks throw a puck at Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson, this after their first official attempt (which was blocked) clocked in just past the midway point of the period.

But that early game of keep-away by the Wild only led to a lopsided shot counter.

They failed to capitalize on their strong start and were subsequently blanked 2-0 on Thursday at Rogers Arena to snap their four-game win streak and suffer their first loss under coach John Hynes.

Vancouver's Nils Hoglander's seeing-eye shot through traffic with 1 minute, 55 seconds to go in the first flipped momentum, a goal that felt inevitable after the Wild didn't take advantage of a scrambly beginning by the Canucks.

Gustavsson finished with 15 saves, and Vancouver's Casey DeSmith had 26 stops in his first shutout of the season while improving to 5-0 against the Wild.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net on Friday when the Wild are back in action at Edmonton.

The Canucks are the highest-scoring team in the NHL, so limiting them to two goals was a job well done by the Wild, but this was a missed opportunity by the team's offense.

During their win streak, the Wild outscored the opposition 18-5 during but couldn't get a single puck by DeSmith during a 10-0 run in shots to start the game.


That pressure included two attempts during the Wild's lone power play; their penalty kill went 2-for-2, improving to 15-for-16 in the five games Hynes has been behind the bench.

But Vancouver eventually woke up.

After Hoglander's goal, the Canucks were much more aggressive in the second period.

Teddy Blueger smacked a shot off the crossbar, and Gustavsson twice denied J.T. Miller in tight on one of Vancouver's power plays.

Finally, at 2:05 of the third period, Blueger deked the puck around Gustavsson to put the finishing touches on the Canucks' victory.

This was the first time all season the Wild have been shut out.

Mats Zuccarello's point streak ended at 10 games.

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