Wild losing streak at four as Sedin brothers make trouble in Vancouver
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Plenty of people are a little down around the holidays. The Minnesota Wild, despite wearing holiday colors all season long, are clearly in the midst of a seasonal funk.
On Monday in British Columbia, twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined for a goal and five assists as the Vancouver Canucks extended the Wild's losing streak to four games. Roberto Luongo stopped all 33 shots he faced in a 4-0 Canucks win.
The loss came despite an opening period in which the Wild dominated in both ends of the ice but got nothing to show for their efforts on the scoreboard. Instead, they fell victim to the NHL's best power play, which produced a pair of goals for the Canucks.
Perhaps it's a sign of how far this Wild team has come from last season that they were shut out for the first time this season on Dec. 19. And unlike previous incarnations of the Wild that treated shots on goal like a bad habit, this team routinely comes out flying on the road.
On this night there were few rewards for all of that effort, as Luongo showed the home crowd in Vancouver why he had 56 career shutouts now. But the Wild showed jump throughout, despite still using a pieced-together lineup that features too many players who were with the minor league team in Texas as recently as last weekend.
Jed Ortmeyer made his season debut for the Wild on Monday, becoming the 34th different player to skate in at least one game for the team this season. On Tuesday, Chad Rau is expected to make his NHL debut, and the Eden Prairie native will become the 35th player on that list. The record for a season, set two years ago, is 40, meaning that unless the Wild get some key players healthier in a hurry, this team may be setting records of the positive and negative varieties.
Out-shooting and out-playing the Canucks in the opening period, the Wild appeared headed toward a 1-0 lead via a shorthanded breakaway by Matt Cullen. But as he crossed the blue line, Cullen was caught from behind and dumped to the ice on a play that the officials said was within the rules. The Canucks came storming back the other way seconds later, with the Sedins connecting on a series of ridiculously long and accurate cross-ice passes, which ended with the puck behind Niklas Backstrom and a 1-0 lead for the home team on the scoreboard.
"I really liked the start we had to the game. It felt like we were going really good in the first period and doing a lot of really good things," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "The next thing you know we take a penalty, and of course they have some skill."
• 12-7-2: Wild record when trailing after the first period this season.
• 3: Points by which the Canucks now trail the Wild in the race for first place in the Northwest Division.
• 9: Consecutive games in Vancouver without a win for the Wild, who are on a 0-7-2 streak there.
• 73: Seconds the Wild spent on the power play on Monday.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard returned to the Wild lineup on Monday, after missing the previous two games with a broken nose suffered late in the team's loss in Winnipeg last Tuesday. Mikko Koivu is on the trip but was scratched once again, still smarting from the leg injury that kept him out of the loss to the Islanders on Saturday.
Canucks - Henrik Sedin 9 (D. Sedin, Edler), 18:52, PPG
Canucks - Ryan Kesler 8 (D. Sedin, H. Sedin), 10:28, PPG
Canucks - Alexandre Burrows 12 (D. Sedin, H. Sedin), 18:01
Canucks - Jannik Hansen 11 (Hodgson, Malhotra), 16:34
Shots: Wild 13-9-11-33; Canucks 9-13-11-33. Saves: Wild, Niklas Backstrom (29-33); Canucks, Roberto Luongo (33-33). Power plays: Wild 0-for-1, Canucks 2-3.
1. Roberto Luongo
2. Henrik Sedin
3. Daniel Sedin
Another night, another time zone, another rendition of "O, Canada" and another Northwest Division game. All of those things are coming up on Tuesday night as the Wild visit the Calgary Flames.