Wild, at their ‘competitive best,’ outlast Canucks 10-7

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By jeenmediaa

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov each had hat tricks for the Minnesota Wild, who faced a three-goal deficit in the second period before storming back with six unanswered goals and hanging on for a record-filled 10-7 victory over the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

Minnesota’s six scores in a span of 5:45 was the fastest such flurry in the NHL in 25 years, since Washington had six goals in 4:47 in a game Feb. 3, 1999.

Matt Boldy, Mats Zuccarello, Marco Rossi and Jonas Brodin also scored for the Wild, who set their franchise record for goals in a game. They also registered their fastest four-goal stretch in team history, all on the power play in a span of 2:17 to take a 6-5 lead early in the third period.

“It was all the guys,” Minnesota coach John Hynes said when asked if he had a memorable speech for his team in the locker room before the third-period breakout. “You could feel the way — in the game — that there was no letdown. When it was 4-1, 5-2, the mindset was still the same. … And then it was more of just staying with it.”

Zuccarello scored with 27 seconds left in the second period. The Wild switched goalies at the intermission from Filip Gustavsson to Marc-Andre Fleury and then let loose as the sloppy and sluggish Canucks squandered a hat trick by J.T. Miller.

“You have to learn how to play under pressure,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “These are lessons that we have to learn.”

The Minnesota goals came from Eriksson Ek, Kaprizov and Eriksson Ek again in the dizzying first 1:44 of the third period to make it 6-5. Then Rossi knocked in Jake Lucchini’s shot off his skate at 4:48 and Kaprizov tacked on another one at 5:12 to further the damage to Canucks goalie Casey DeSmith.

“Lots of times during the game, we were in control of the game, but we were not in control of the scoreboard,” Hynes said. “But we cut the into the lead and were able to get to the attack game that we’ve talked about.”

With Vancouver playing the first half of a back-to-back set of games, Tocchet chose to keep primary netminder Thatcher Demko on the bench to rest.

Elias Pettersson got his team-leading 29th goal and Ian Cole had the first goal for the Canucks, who scored on their only two shots on net over the first 15-plus minutes of the game against Gustavsson.

The Canucks (37-14-6) took seven penalties and lost their second straight game. They fell to 28-7-2 when scoring first. Nikita Zadorov and Brock Boeser scored in the third period, cutting the lead to 8-7 with 2:08 to go, before the Wild tacked on two empty-netters.

“It’s actually stupid stick penalties,” Tocchet said. “You cannot do that. And we’ve got to learn. When you play under pressure, you cannot do those things.”

The Wild, fighting to stay in contention in the Western Conference’s wild-card standings, moved two points within the No. 8 spot with the victory.

“This is the time of year, where you have to win. We knew coming into this game, that you have to be at your competitive best to win,” Hynes said, referring to playing the West’s top team, and how to build off this win. “Mindset, to me, is the biggest thing. That’ll be addressed.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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