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Minnesota Wild lose to the Canucks before embarking on tough road trip

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The Minnesota Wild are clinging to the top wild card spot in the Western Conference. A 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center does not help.

The Wild had opportunities early, but did not have enough room to beat Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack. The Canucks goaltender was nearly perfect on nine shots, but everything came from a long ways out or from in too close.

“We have got to score,” Zach Parise said. “Our line (He along with Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville) in particular. We had some good looks. We had some chances. We have got to be better. We have got to score.

“I had that kind of breakaway that first shift. We had a good look on the power play, the one on the goal line and (Granlund) had a couple. We’ve got to bury those. That’s on us.”

The Wild had great opportunities off re-directions and rebounds, but nothing came with enough room to beat Lack.

The Wild went upstairs twice on Lack and scored both times. Charlie Coyle got the Wild on the board with a wrist shot from the top of circles that beat Lack cleanly to continue his hot streak.

Nino Niederreiter also beat Lack over the glove shoulder with a shot from nearly the same place. Coyle’s came off a rush and Niederreiter’s came on a one-timer off a pass from Erik Haula.

The Canucks (34-30-10) made the most of their opportunities. They scored off a rush, off a turnover in the slot, on a shot right off a face off, on a deflection and on a rebound. There aren’t very many other ways to score goals.

“They capitalized on their chances and we couldn’t get the puck in the net,” Mikko Koivu said. “That’s the difference tonight.

“Us - players - have to be better. Do those little things right in front of (the goaltenders).”

The Wild (37-25-11) just three points up on the Phoenix Coyotes as the team heads out onto a four-game, eight-day road trip from the midwest to the west coast and back.

“It sucks right now,” Parise said about the demeanor in the locker room. “We feel kind of down on ourselves right now from that game. But, we have to shift our mindset to tomorrow. We know it is going to be a tough game. We can’t lose two in a row right now.”

The Wild begin the trip in St. Louis on Thursday and continues through Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago before returning home on April 5.

All four of those teams are likely playoff bound - only Phoenix really has a chance to be surpassed by the ninth place Dallas Stars.

The Wild return to action Thursday against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Charlie Coyle. The Wild forward scored a goal.

No. 2 - Zack Kassian. The Canucks forward scored a goal.

No. 1 - David Booth. The Canucks forward recorded two goals.

Boxscore

Vancouver……1 2 2 - 5

Minnesota……1 0 1 - 2

First Period - 1, Vancouver, Booth 7 (unassisted), 15:39. 2, Minnesota, Coyle 10 (Koivu, Spurgeon), 17:31. Penalties - Garrison, VAN (delay of game-puck over glass), 2:46; Sestito, VAN, major (fighting), 7:34; McCormick, MIN, major (fighting), 7:34.

Second Period - 3, Vancouver, Booth 8 (unassisted), 11:57. 4, Vancouver, Kassian 12 (Richardson), 19:03. Penalties - Niederreiter, MIN (interference), 6:17; Bieksa, VAN (interference), 9:47; Matthias, VAN (holding the stick), 13:35.

Third Period - 5, Vancouver, Sedin 14 (Hamhuis, Hansen), 11:12. 6, Vancouver, Kesler 23 (Higgins), 12:01 (pp). 7, Minnesota, Niederreiter 13 Haula, Suter), 12:25. Penalties - Booth, VAN (hooking), 1:57; Brodziak, MIN (holding), 11:39.

Shots on goal - Vancouver 6-6-7 19. Minnesota 9-13-9 31.

Goalies - Vancouver, Lack (30-31). Minnesota, Kuemper (9-12), Bryzgalov (5-7). Referees - Mike Leggo, Justin St. Pierre. Linesmen - Darren Gibbs, Brad Lazarowich.

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