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Updated: February 9th, 2012 11:54pm
Mike Yeo rips Wild after another lifeless loss: 'We flat-out stink'

Mike Yeo rips Wild after another lifeless loss: 'We flat-out stink'

by Marley McMillan
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Even with captain Mikko Koivu back in the lineup, the Minnesota Wild couldn't muster enough energy in a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday that brought another round of harsh criticism from their coach.

The skinny

His team hanging onto a playoff spot by a thread and a top league opponent at the Xcel Energy Center, the effort level struck a chord with Wild coach Mike Yeo.

"We flat-out stink the last two months," Yeo said. "We stink, and we come in and we don't have good enough effort from too many guys. That's concerning.

"I'm concerned about the fact that we come into games and we don't have enough guys - when we should have absolute desperation in our game, playing against a team like this - and we have too many guys who aren't ready to pay a price. That's speaking honestly."

The only subject to which Yeo could lend some hope to was his first line, consisting of Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and Koivu, who returned after missing eight games due to a shoulder injury.

"They were great," Yeo said. "That line was great every time they were out there. They created something. They had emotion. They were battling. They were aggressive and good things happened when they were out there."

Thursday's defeat came two days after a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who sit comfortably in last place in the NHL.

"What did we think?" Yeo said. "That we were going to come in against Vancouver and we were going to outskill them tonight? That didn't work against Columbus."

Every Canucks goal -- apart from Ryan Kesler's empty-netter in the final minute -- was scored on a rebound or deflection in front of the net.

"You think that we would look at a team that's that skilled and scores as many goals and say, 'Wow, they score goals like that? It might be a good idea for us to try it,'" Yeo said. "Or we might say, "We don't have that much skill. It might be a good idea for us to do that.' It's tough to get that across right now."

After the loss to the Blue Jackets, the Wild worked on the physicality of their game.

"We did battle drills (Wednesday) for a reason," Yeo said. "We didn't have enough battle in our game in Columbus and we come in (Thursday) and we didn't have enough battle in our game (Thursday). So, we'll have to look at this carefully."

Practice yields little reward, however, when there lacks a willingness to learn.

"What we do in practice and the things we (do)," Yeo said, "the Xs and Os, and all these things that we talk about -- it's completely irrelevant right now. If we don't have complete desperation and urgency and a willingness to pay the price that winners do, then it's just going to lead to more disappointment.

"One good game maybe here and there, and then another bad game, and then a good game, and then we feel good about ourselves and then another bad game. I'm sorry. ... That's not the way winners do it."

Despite speculation that he might sit out, Henrik Sedin played with a right ankle injury suffered against Nashville on Tuesday.

Heatley put the Wild on the scoreboard just 13 seconds into regulation, but the Canucks answered on the power play and scored two goals at crucial points - within the final minute of the first period and the first minute of the second period - to effectively regain control of the game.

Turning point

Matt Cullen and Nate Prosser were sent to the penalty box 14 seconds apart starting at 12:35 of the first period. The Canucks capitalized, and that was the end of the night for the Wild.

Numbers game

• 13: Seconds it took for Heatley to score, the fastest goal by a Wild play ever to begin a game. Matt Johnson formerly held the title, scoring 21 seconds in a 4-0 win over Detroit on March 23, 2003, that clinched a playoff spot.
• 1st: Time the Sedin twins have scored against the Wild in the same game, despite having a combined 27 games against the franchise in their careers.
• 2nd: Canucks' rank in the league in power-play goals. They have 45, double the Wild's 25.
• 553: Consecutive games played Henrik Sedin, second only to Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester among active players.

Health watch

New to the injured reserve is defenseman Clayton Stoner (leg). He joins Guillaume Latendresse, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jarod Palmer, all out with concussion symptoms.


First period

Wild - Dany Heatley (D. Setoguchi), 0:13 EV
Canucks - Daniel Sedin (A. Edler, S. Salo), 14:04 PP
Canucks - Maxim Lapierre (A. Edler), 19:18 EV

Second period

Canucks - Henrik Sedin (B. Bitz, D. Sedine), 0:50 EV

Third period

Canucks - Manny Malhotra (K. Bieksa, J. Hansen), 7:32 EV
Wild - Devin Setoguchi (N. Prosser), 15:58 PP
Canucks - Ryan Kesler (A. Burrows, D. Booth), 18:47 EN

Shots: Wild 5-9-10-24; Canucks 9-6-5-20. Saves: Wild, Niklas Backstrom (15-19); Canucks, Cory Schneider (22-24). Power plays: Wild 1-for-4, Canucks 1-for-3.

Three stars

1. Daniel Sedin
2. Cory Schneider
3. Dany Heatley

Coming up

The Wild will play the Blue Jackets again in the second of their four-game homestand at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.