ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jason Pominville and Ryan Suter scored power-play goals, and Devan Dubnyk earned another victory in the net, guiding the Minnesota Wild past the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 on Monday night for their sixth straight win in regulation.
Jordan Schroeder got his first goal with the Wild, against the team that drafted him, and Nino Niederreiter and Kyle Brodziak also scored to send Canucks goalie Ryan Miller to an early exit midway through the second period.
The Wild raised their record to 8-1-1 in the last 10 games, all with Dubnyk in goal since his arrival in a trade. They moved within three points of the cut for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, against which they are 17-10-4 with seven consecutive victories in a row.
Zack Kassian, Shawn Matthias and Ryan Stanton scored goals and Dan Hamhuis had two assists for the Canucks.
Vancouver fell behind 2-0 less than 8 minutes in and never recovered despite hitting a post with shots in each of the first two periods. The Canucks have lost five of eight.
Eddie Lack relieved Miller after Brodziak one-timed a pass from Jared Spurgeon for a 5-2 lead less than 8 minutes into the second period. Miller was coming off a 31-save shutout against Pittsburgh on Saturday, one of Vancouver’s most well-rounded performances in a while, but this was his fifth loss in seven starts. Miller stopped 13 shots.
The Wild were 0-5-1 in their previous six games with shattered confidence and a sputtering defense before acquiring Dubnyk in the deal with Arizona, but the 28-year-old goalie has not only lifted their spirits but spurred them back into contention since his arrival.
The Wild held the Canucks to 25 shots, slightly under their league-best per-game average. Dubnyk, who was the NHL’s First Star award winner for last week after posting shutouts in each of the first two games of this homestand, made 22 saves. He has stopped 221 of 235 shots he has faced with the Wild, now drawing a “Duuuuub!” serenade from the crowd nearly every time he makes even a mildly challenging save.
The Wild had one of their finest passing performances of the season, with every goal following a sharp setup. They lost two forwards, Ryan Carter and Jason Zucker, to injuries in the first period, too. Charlie Coyle fed Schroeder, whose backhand flip over Miller’s blocker into the upper left corner gave the Wild the early lead.
The Canucks brought the third-best penalty kill in the NHL, including the most effective on the road, but the Wild sliced that unit up with goals by Pominville and Suter.
Suter, who scored for the first time in 47 games he has played since the opener, hit Nick Bonino with a slap shot with his first attempt. He tracked down the puck and, seeing Bonino hobbling into position, fired again from long range for a 4-2 lead. Suter hit a post with a shot in the first period, too.
NOTES: The Wild have won six of their last seven games against the Canucks. … Schroeder scored six goals in 56 games for the Canucks, who drafted the native of Lakeville, Minnesota, in the first round in 2009. … Minnesota C Mikko Koivu has two goals and eight assists in the last 10 games. … The Wild scratched goalie Darcy Kuemper a day after recalling him from his conditioning assignment in the AHL, with Niklas Backstrom serving as Dubnyk’s backup.
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