On the same day that Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman decided to withhold discipline from Stephane Auger and fine Alex Burrows $2500, the Canucks misfortune spilled onto the ice.
The Wild are hot, 4 straight wins and 19-10-3 since opening the season 5-10-0
Derek Boogaard of the Minnesota Wild threw more controversy at the Canucks camp. Boogaard, who hasn’t scored in 200 games (Jan.7, 2006) told the Minnesota Star-Tribune that just prior to his fight with Darcy Hordichuk, Hordichuk said: “The coach is making us fight you guys.” Hordichuk was given a 5 minute major for fighting, as well as a 10 minute misconduct penalty, but thus far there hasn’t been any indication of further penalization. Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault didn’t speak to the allegations, but noted that the Burrows/Auger drama is just that. “That’s absolutely no distraction at all… That’s not why we lost this game,” noted Vigneault.
This battle for the puck between Tanner Glass and Shane Hnidy later became a pugilist battle
Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom set a franchise record for wins (114) during the 5-2 win over the visiting Canucks. Antti Miettinen had two of the Wild’s 3 third period goals. The Wild are winners of 4 straight, have scored 19 goals in that span, and 9 of those in the third periods.
Kyle Brodziak spoke to the teams’ confidence. “If we really believe in ourselves every game and every minute of every game, not just one or two periods of the game, I think we can really be a dangerous team and I think guys are really starting to realize that.” Brodziak gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game, redirecting a pass from Latendresse past Luongo.
Roberto Luongo has his helmet knocked off during Derek Boogaard's attempt to shake a 200 game goal-less drought. Guess who won? (AP Photo)
Following a timeout, while on a 4-on-3 power play in the third, Marek Zidlicky fed Mikko Koivu in the right circle. His one touch pass found Miettinen in the slot, and his one-timer beat Luongo stick side. Eric Belanger, having an excellent season for Minnesota, was tenacious on the forecheck, forcing the ‘Nucks to cough up the puck that Owen Nolan wristed off Luongo’s glove. Miettinen powered a slapper past Luongo at 9:32; it was their 3rd shot of the period and third goal, chasing the Canucks starter. He finished with 14 saves on 19 shots. “I have to make some saves,” added a morose Luongo.
Derek Boogaard (not pictured) contends that Vigneault forced his players to fight. It's my belief that Tanner Glass just LIKES to do it, cuz he's good at it
The Wild are suddenly red hot, starting the season 5-10-0, are now 19-10-3 since and within 2 points of a playoff spot, the closest they’ve been since Oct. 9th. “It’s a long road still, but I think everybody in the locker room is very confident with the way we are playing,” Miettinen said. The Canucks now play 9 of their next 11 at home, beginning with Pittsburgh on Saturday. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby notched his 30th goal of the season in a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Wednesday night.
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Larenzo Jensen, with files from AP Photo, The Canadian Press, and CanucksHD