Samuelsson's goal powers Canucks over Wild
Mikael Samuelsson scored the go-ahead goal on a power play rebound 3:49 into the third period to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
The Canucks outshot Minnesota 39-18 but struggled to beat Niklas Backstrom until Alex Burrows jam play in tight left the Wild goalie down when the puck squirted free to the other side. Samuelsson patiently moved it from his backhand to his forehand before rifling a shot over a sprawling Backstrom.
Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, who have won three of their last four games after losing their first three of the season.
Mikko Koivu opened the scoring for Minnesota, which has lost all five games on its road trip and has just one win in seven games this season.
Both teams were trying to overcome key injuries, and a game in Alberta the night before. The Wild, missing top six forwards Martin Havlat, Petr Sykora, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Cal Clutterbuck, lost 5-2 in Edmonton on Friday.
Meanwhile the Canucks, playing without injured forwards Daniel Sedin, Pavol Demitra and defensemen Sami Salo and Mathieu Schneider, lost 5-3 in Calgary.
Backstrom was spectacular after watching Josh Harding play in Edmonton, making 37 saves as the Canucks dominated for long stretches.
Roberto Luongo, back in goal after being pulled after two periods in Calgary, only needed 17 saves for his third win of the season. But he made one of his best with 3:45 left, getting just enough of Andrew Brunette's power-play redirection in tight to send the puck trickling barely wide of the far post.
Luongo also stopped Brent Burns' screened point shot and Antti Miettinen from the slot on another Wild power play in the final two minutes, as Vancouver's 25th-ranked penalty kill had its first perfect game of the season, holding Minnesota's seventh-ranked power play scoreless on five chances.
Minnesota didn't register a shot until almost nine minutes into the game, but scored on its second attempt a minute and a half later. Actually it looked more like a pass attempt from Koivu that hit the skate of Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood in the high slot and between the legs of a surprised Luongo.
It was just the second time the Wild have scored first this season, but the lead didn't last long. Kesler tied it 4:23 into the second period, taking a pass from the point from Kevin Bieksa below the goal line and quickly jamming the puck in off Backstrom before he could get set on the near post.
It was the only blip for Backstrom, who kept the Wild in the game while Minnesota was being outshot 17-4 in the second period. He made his best stops against the Canucks' top-ranked power play, including a breakaway glove stop on Mason Raymond, and Kesler, who was turned away a couple of times from point-blank range and on a breakaway with 3:30 left.
Notes: It was the Canucks' first win within the Northwest Division after losing the first three. ... The Canucks finished 5-0-1 against Minnesota last season, but four of the six games were decided by one goal. ... Vancouver, which has lost its first three road games this season, plays in Edmonton Monday and Chicago on Wednesday before returning home for three games.