Unlikely Scorers Lift Canucks Over Wild
By: John Krawczynski, AP
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Tough guy Darcy Hordichuk and newly signed Matt Pettinger each scored their first goals of the season, forming an unlikely pair to lead the short-handed Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Hordichuk scored his first goal in 50 games. Pettinger was signed off the street on Monday to bolster a depleted roster.
Mason Raymond and Henrik Sedin also scored for the Canucks, who have won three in a row despite missing seven players with injuries. Alex Burrows added an empty-net goal.
Kyle Brodziak scored twice for the Wild, who were slow and sloppy throughout and showed little fight against a weakened opponent.
Niklas Backstrom gave up four goals on 17 shots and was pulled by new Wild coach Todd Richards for the first time.
Vancouver's Andrew Raycroft made 28 saves in his fifth straight game in place of Roberto Luongo, who has been out with a rib injury. Raycroft made two excellent saves, using his stick to deflect a shot by Petr Sykora in the second period, then making a sliding kick save on Owen Nolan in the third to keep Vancouver in front.
The Canucks entered having lost 82 man-games to injury in their first 16 contests, with stars like Luongo, Daniel Sedin (foot) and Pavol Demitra (shoulder) missing extended time.
The Wild had won two in a row for the first time this season. They had four days off between games, and took the first period of this one off, as well.
Minnesota managed just three shots in the period and only had one on three power plays. Center James Sheppard's blind backhand pass in his own zone was easily picked off by Hordichuk less than 4 minutes in, and he slipped a wrist shot past a surprised Backstrom for a 1-0 lead.
The frustrations boiled over at the end of the period, when Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard was called for cross checking and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Raymond buried a cross-ice feed from Alexander Edler 2:20 into the second period for a 2-0 Canucks lead.
The Wild finally started flying about midway through the period, putting more pressure on Raycroft. But every time they found the net, the Canucks responded to stem the momentum.
Backstrom, the All-Star who is the rock-solid backbone of this shaky team, was just as much to blame. He took poor angles throughout the first two periods and somehow let Pettinger score from a seemingly impossible shallow angle, prompting Richards to insert Josh Harding to start the third.
NOTES: Vancouver D Shane O'Brien served a one-game suspension for jabbing Rangers agitator Sean Avery with his stick on Tuesday while both were on the team benches. ... Wild C Eric Belanger left in the second period because of an upper body injury and didn't return. ... It was Brodziak's fourth career game with more than one goal and the first by a Wild player this season. ... Edler had two assists.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.