Dany Heatley goes from hero to goat as Wild lose in OT to Canucks
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For more than 64 minutes in Vancouver, a place that is usually a house of horrors for the Minnesota Wild, the visitors either led or forged a tie. But that last minute of overtime spoiled it all.
Dany Heatley took an ill-advised slashing penalty with 1:15 left in the extra session, giving the Canucks a 4-on-3 power play, and Sami Salo's blast from the point with 20.8 seconds on the clock eluded Niklas Backstrom, giving Vancouver a 3-2 win.
The Wild led 1-0 after 20 minutes on a nifty Devin Setoguchi goal, and held a 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes via Kyle Broziak's second goal of the season. After the Canucks tied things early in the third, the teams played even hockey for the next 20 minutes, and the trip to overtime got the Wild a point (and three out of a possible four points on the two-game road trip).
Heatley has been around the game long enough to know how quickly your fortunes can change. Less than 48 hours before the trouble in British Columbia, he was the Wild hero in Alberta, scoring in the final seconds to send the game with the Oilers to overtime and eventually a shootout win.
Things started well for Heatley's line in Vancouver, as he and Setoguchi combined on a beautiful give-and-go play, with Setoguchi passing to Heatley, cutting to the net, getting a pass back from Heatley and snapping a backhand past Canucks goalie Cory Schneider to give the Wild a very rare early lead inside Rogers Arena.
But in overtime, with Vancouver dominating the play, Heatley took a strange swipe at the Canucks' Ryan Kesler, snapping Kesler's stick in half and drawing a slashing penalty.
"We've lost two games in overtime when we've taken penalties," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I know that Heater's not trying to be undisciplined at that time. His stick breaks. If his stick doesn't break, it's not a penalty, and with these sticks now, I don't know how hard he hit him, but we can't be taking penalties in overtime anymore."
Taking an optimistic tack after the game, Yeo chose to focus on the 40 minutes that the Wild led the game, and not the trouble in the third period and overtime.
"I thought we gave ourselves a pretty good chance to win this game. We're still not completely comfortable in those moments playing in your own zone when the game is on the line."
The Canucks won the division and the Western Conference last season, and came within one home win of grabbing the Stanley Cup. And following the coach's optimistic nature, it's worth noting that despite the late collapse, the Wild were just a step behind them on this particular day.
The Canucks third line got an unlikely goal early in the third period, when Jannik Hansen deflected a long-distance shot by Manny Malhotra, and the puck trickled past Backstrom for a 2-2 tie. The goal seemed to deflate the Wild offense, which had 18 shots in the first two periods, but managed just five shots during the third period and overtime.
• 1-0-3: The Wild's record this season when leading after 40 minutes. Last season the Wild were 25-0-1 when leading heading into the third period.
• 103: Number of second the Wild needed to re-take the lead after Daniel Sedin's power play goal made it 1-1 in the second.
• 6-0: Canucks shots on goal advantage in overtime.
• 10/17/09: The last time the Wild had a first period lead in Vancouver.
Two regulars were missing from the Wild lineup, as defenseman Greg Zanon sat out with a groin injury, and forward Guillaume Latandresse was missing due to a lower body ailment. Both are listed as day to day. Justin Falk took Zanon's place on the blue line, while Nick Johnson skated, and had an assist, in place of Latandresse.
Wild - Devin Setoguchi 3 (Heatley, Zidlicky), 8:57
Canucks - Daniel Sedin 3 (H. Sedin, Edler), 16:28, PPG
Wild - Kyle Brodziak 2 (Johnson, Bulmer), 18:11
Canucks - Jannik Hansen 1 (Malhotra, Ebbett), 2:06
Canucks - Sami Salo 3 (D. Sedin, Kesler), 4:39, PPG
Shots: Wild 7-11-5-0-23; Canucks 4-15-7-6-32. Saves: Wild, Niklas Backstrom (29-32); Canucks, Cory Schneider (21-23). Power plays: Wild 0-for-4, Canucks 2-3.
1. Sami Salo
2. Jannik Hansen
3. Kyle Brodziak
The Wild have several days off coming up, which could be good or bad. They clearly need some time to heal, but having a while to dwell on this one might not be a good thing. Their next game is Thursday night at home versus the Anaheim Ducks.