Justin Fontaine’s shootout goal gave the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in NHL action Friday night.
Fontaine, Minnesota’s seventh shooter, went wide on Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack and slid the puck under him. Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper preserved the win by denying Vancouver’s final shooter, David Booth, as he attempted a spin-o-rama shot.
The Wild (33-21-7) posted its fourth straight win, while the Canucks (28-24-10) suffered their eighth loss in the past nine games.
The Canucks outshot the Wild 31-23 with Minnesota’s goaltender recording 30 saves and Vancouver’s Eddie Lack stopping 22.
The Wild scored on one of three power plays while the Canucks were blanked on two, but tallied while shorthanded.
Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and Minnesota’s Zach Parise exchanged first-period goals.
Kesler, who missed Thursday’s win over St. Louis with a hand injury and has been the subject of trade speculation, opened the scoring 5:19 into the game while the Canucks were shorthanded. After Chris Higgins forced a turnover just outside the Vancouver blue-line, Kesler raced down left wing and beat Kuemper with a high shot.
The goal came while Daniel Sedin was serving a hooking penalty.
Minnesota had a goal by former Canucks defenceman Keith Ballard disallowed as officials ruled Mikael Granlund interfered with Lack, but no penalty was necessary.
Parise evened the score just under nine minutes later as he beat a heavily screened shot from the slot. The Wild captain put the puck between Alex Edler’s and Dany Heatley’s jerseys as they stood in front of the net.
The Canucks outshot the Wild 11-6 in a scoreless second period, but could not beat a steady Kuemper, who made his 14th consecutive start.
Early in the third period, he robbed Kesler while sprawled on his belly. After Kesler picked up the puck, cut in front of the goalmouth and sent a backhand toward the net, Kuemper lifted his right leg and kicked the disk out.
The Canucks controlled play for much of the third, but struggled to generate dangerous chances against Minnesota’s determined defensive efforts. The Wild only recorded its second shot of the period with 2:59 left, but still managed to force overtime.
The Canucks received a rare power play 1:27 into the extra session as Parise was penalized for boarding Chris Tanev.
In the shootout, Vancouver’s Chris Higgins had Kuemper down and out after a deke, but hit the post on his club’s final shot of the regulation portion.
Notes: Vancouver defenceman Chris Tanev returned after missing seven games with a thumb injury. a Wild captain Mikko Koivu remained out with an ankle injury suffered Jan. 4, but took part in his club’s morning skate. He has missed 17 straight games. a Most of Vancouver’s injured players have returned. Only winger Mike Santorelli (shoulder, out for season) and defenceman Andrew Alberts (concussion) remain in sick bay. a Minnesota left winger Jason Zucker missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury while Marco Scandella sat out his third contest due to a sprained knee. Goaltender Josh Harding, who is struggling to find the right medication program for his multiple sclerosis, has missed 19 games.
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