Wild bounces back with balanced 6-2 victory over Vancouver
A bout of illness knocked one of the Wilds top forwards out of the lineup, but winger Zach Parises absence didnt slow down the offense especially Parises linemates.
Captain Mikko Koivu and winger Nino Niederretier, along with stand-in Charlie Coyle, led the Wild to a bounce-back performance against the Canucks, a 6-2 exclamation point Thursday in front of 19,014 at Xcel Energy Center that featured three goals and five points from the trio in the teams 11th win in the past 14 games.
Not only was the effort by the Koivu line a timely lift considering Parise, whose seven goals are the second-most on the team, was unavailable, but the showing from the entire team was the perfect response to the 5-2 dud Tuesday to the Washington Capitals and it improved the Wild to 6-1-2 on home ice.
Coyle started the parade of goals just 5 minutes, 37 seconds into the first period after he went to his backhand on a breakaway, burying the puck that defenseman Jonas Brodin flipped into the zone to snap a 10-game goal drought.
It was just the sixth time this season the Wild opened the scoring, the fewest times in the NHL.
Only 2:06 later, Koivu was gifted an open net on the power play after Vancouver goalie Richard Bachmans errant pass from behind the net landed right on Koivus stick for the easy shot. It was Koivus 197th career goal and second in as many games.
He factored in his fifth straight goal, dating back to Tuesdays game, after setting up Niederreiter on the power play 1:46 into the second for a nifty redirect in the slot. The unit finished a spotless 2-for-2 with the man advantage.
After finishing with three points, Koivu has 10 in his last six games a dynamic stretch that has him tied for second on the Wild with 16.
Vancouver trimmed its deficit with its only power-play goal in six tries at 6:26, a shot from center Bo Horvat, but the Wild quickly reinstated its three-goal cushion 36 seconds later when center Eric Staal converted on a wrap-around.
Before the period ended, the Wild tacked on another when defenseman Matt Dumbas point shot wove through traffic and behind Bachman at 13:12.
The goal was Dumbas second in the last two games and with seven on the season, he ranked second in the NHL among defensemen. It was also the 17th goal chipped in by a Wild defenseman this season.
In the third, the outpouring of offense continued.
Winger Jason Zucker sent a Staal feed top shelf on Bachman at 5:27; defenseman Ryan Suter also earned an assist on the play his second of the game.
Vancouver, which was at the conclusion of a six-game road trip, did answer back only 26 seconds later when center Markus Granlund gobbled up a loose puck in front and wired it by Dubnyk.
Dubnyk pocketed 25 saves; Bachman had 23.
Six goals were a season-high for the Wild and tied its best output against the Canucks.
Overall, 12 different Wild players tallied at least a point a balanced attack thats headlined much of the Wilds success this season.
All but three players currently on the roster have scored a goal this season, and five have at least five.