Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau reiterated the challenges his team faced in taking on the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, despite the fact the visitors were coming in on the 2nd-half of a back-to-back, the first being a 5-2 loss on Friday to the Edmonton Oilers.
“We’re going to expect a really difficult game, they’re a hard working team, they’re big, they’re strong, and they’re probably going to come in here a little angry,” ‘Gabby’ said after Saturday’s morning skate. “We can’t play as loose as we did the last couple of games and expect to win against these guys.”
A Boudreau coached Canucks team hadn’t beaten the Wild yet, and they would fall short again.
The Wild completely dominated the first period, out-shooting the Canucks 14-4, but only outscoring them 1-0 because of the staunch Vancouver goaltending of Spencer Martin.
In the second period, potentially after a scolding from Boudreau, Vancouver came out with what seemed like a lot of pride in front of a national TV audience in Canada. In short order, the Canucks suddenly passed the Wild in shots on goal and scoring opportunities, but the goaltending extravaganza switched ends.
It was Filip Gustavsson stealing the show. He turned aside all 19 Vancouver shots in the second period, many of them challenging. His team mustered seven. In the end, Gustavsson would end up with his first career shut-out.
Play was more even in the third period, but it was the Wild adding to their total.
The goal scorers for Minnesota: Matt Boldy (10) on the power play in the first, Connor Dewar (4) shorthanded in the 2nd, and Sam Steel (6) even strength in the 3rd.
The key elongated moment came in the 2nd half of the 2nd period when the Canucks earned three consecutive power plays and failed to scored. The Wild tallied the shorty.
Vancouver’s losing streak to the Wild extends beyond Boudreau’s tenure with the Canucks. It’s now at seven games.
Vancouver dropped a game below .500 while the Wild hopped into third place in the Central Division with the win. Kirill Kaprizov had his 14-game point streak ended.
Canucks Goal Scorers:
Canucks 3 Stars:
1) Spencer Martin – Kept the Canucks in the game and gave them a chance to win.
2) Conor Garland – Drove play, drew a penalty and had four shots on goal.
3) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Created most of the chances on the power plays that failed. Put up with rough stuff.