The Xcel Energy Center as been known as Vancouver's house of horrors, and that certainly proved to be true on Monday night. The game started with one of the more eventful first periods the Canucks have been a part of this season, but unfortunately it was for the wrong reasons. The Wild scored early and often against Ryan Miller, scoring five goals on 18 shots in less than 30 minutes to send Miller to the bench early. Eddie Lack did his best to clean up the mess, but the damage had already been done as the Wild went on to win 5-3 over the Canucks.
The Canucks seemed to have an answer for just about anything the Wild did, trailing 3-2 midway through the 2nd period. But that was when the Wild came up with two goals in the span of 54 seconds to put the game out of reach.
Devan Dubnyk had another great night in net for the Wild, stopping 22 shots, continuing his recent red-hot play.
The Canucks were off to a nice start, putting pressure early on Devan Dubnyk who, of course, has been a brick wall as of late. Entering tonight's game, Dubnyk had delivered back-to-back shutouts for the Wild. Five minutes into the game, the shots were 4-0 in favor of the Canucks.
Despite their slow start, former Canuck Jordan Schroeder opened the scoring for the Wild at 5:05 in the first period. When both Alex Edler and Chris Tanev crashed towards Charlie Coyle, Schroeder was left all alone to deliver a nifty backhanded goal. Something tells me Schroeder enjoyed this goal.
Canucks would be winning 1-0 if they would of kept Jordan Schroeder #wouldof— Harrison Mooney (@HarrisonMooney) February 10, 2015
The Wild would be the first to go to the power play a few minutes later when Alex Burrows was sent off for holding against Ryan Suter. During the power play, the Wild added to their lead when Thomas Vanek hit Jason Pominville who was able to send home a one-timer as Ryan Miller couldn't adjust quickly enough. Suddenly, the Canucks were in trouble early on in their house of horrors.
Devan Dubnyk's shutout streak would come to an end when Zack Kassian (yes you are reading this correctly) sniped a shot past Dubnyk as he rushed into the Minnesota zone unguarded. It's almost as if Kassian felt his spot in the lineup was in jeopardy.
What's that Ronalds? You want your spot back?— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 10, 2015
The Wild would go to another power play as Nick Bonino was sent off for holding. During the advantage, Jannik Hansen found himself on a breakaway yet again. When you start the sentence, "So a Canucks player is in on a breakaway..." most fans will assume you're talking about Hansen. This time, Hansen beat Dubnyk but couldn't beat the post as the Wild held onto their 2-1 lead.
Typical Hansen, blowing it on the breakaway. Wait, are we down on Hansen right now or no? I can’t keep up.— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) February 10, 2015
Minnesota scored again late in the period when Mikko Koivu hit Nino Niederreiter in the slot for a one-timer to give the Wild a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
Wild are feeling it. Any other team tonight and the Canucks might have made it a game. Still might.— Guts McTavish (@gutsmctavish24) February 10, 2015
Side note: Did anyone catch the guys on Sportsnet during the intermission discuss the Canucks trading the Sedins? I like how when discussing this, you have to refer to them as if they are some super conjoined twins. You want just one of them? That's like going into Costco and saying, "Excuse me, I'd like to purchase one roll of paper towels." It's just unheard of, just like any "rumors" about trading Daniel and Henrik.
The Canucks cut into Minnesota's lead early in the 2nd period when Dan Hamhuis threw a puck in on net. Radim Vrbata came up with the puck and slid it across the crease and behind Devan Dubnyk over to Shawn Matthias who tapped it in for his 10th goal of the year.
The Wild would head to their third power play of the night when Alex Edler was called for hooking. For the second time, Minnesota took advantage as Ryan Suter blasted home a power play goal to but the Wild back up by two goals. Vancouver's penalty kill, which is usually among the league's best, continued its recent slide.
Canucks PK has allowed 8 goals in the last 7 games..— Blake Price (@blakeprice1040) February 10, 2015
Moments later, the Wild tacked on another goal as Kyle Brodziak sent in a slap shot from the right face-off circle. 54 seconds earlier, it was a one-goal game. To no surprise, Brodziak's goal was the last straw for Ryan Miller as Eddie Lack took over after letting by five goals on 18 shots.
There was a common thread when Vancouver managed to answer Minnesota's goals, and it wasn't pretty.
Both times #Canucks made it a one-goal game, went 10 minutes before next shot. No momentum, no push, no desperation— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 10, 2015
The Canucks tightened up defensively and didn't allow a shot on goal for almost 10 minutes after Brodziak's goal, but weren't able to cut into Minnesota's lead before the end of the period, heading into the final intermission down 5-2.
During the 3rd period, a graphic about Ryan Miller caught my eye that I wanted to bring up. As Eddie Lack can attest to, the Canucks haven't always been the best at providing goal support. Last year in many of Lack's losses, you'd look at the final score and it'd often be the same story. 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, whatever the case, Lack was doing everything he could, he just wasn't getting the goal support needed. In Miller's losses this year, that hasn't been the case. As you can see from the graphic below, when things go wrong for Miller, there's not much the Canucks could do offensively to help.
When it rains for Ryan Miller, it pours. pic.twitter.com/62fYYWzzVC— Canucks Misconduct (@nucksmisconduct) February 10, 2015
How does he bounce back? That question was raised on Twitter so I sent our minions to do some digging around. In game's after a loss for Miller, the Canucks goaltender is 7-4-0 with a 2.55 GAA. Is he a lock to rebound well? No, but he responds well enough to give his team a chance to avoid slipping into a losing streak.
The 3rd period was the most uneventful of the game with no scoring for either side. When the Wild scored twice in under a minute, that pretty much did the Canucks in for the rest of the night. Kudos though to Eddie Lack for stopping the bleeding by blocking everything that came his way.
The Canucks finally got their first power play of the night with 3:49 left as the Wild were hit with a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Eddie Lack would head to the bench as the Canucks went 6-on-4 in hopes of a miracle comeback. Radim Vrbata was then sent off for tripping, ending Vancouver's only power play after just over 30 seconds of 6-on-4 hockey.
Canucks to the power play…. pic.twitter.com/pXPPqAzZ0M— Canucks Misconduct (@nucksmisconduct) February 10, 2015
Ryan Stanton added a late garbage time goal when Daniel Sedin sent in a shot towards the net, tipped in by Stanton to make it a 5-3 game with just a couple minutes left in the game. That would be the final goal of the night as Minnesota racked up their sixth straight win.
The Canucks have one more stop on their mini-road trip when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. In their previous meeting this season back on November 23, the Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 4-1 at Rogers Arena.