Brandon Sutter caps rally with OT winner as Canucks top Wild
Vancouver centre comes up big in return from 21-game absence with lower-body injury
Brandon Sutter made a triumphant return to the Vancouver Canucks lineup.
Back after missing 21 games with a lower body injury, Sutter scored 2:50 into overtime to lift Vancouver to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
Sutter took a pass from Alexander Edler just inside the Wild blue line, cut to the inside against Jonas Brodin and beat Devan Dubnyk on the stick side.
"I think we kind of knew that the D was changing," Sutter said. "I tried to jump it. You get one-on-one with a little bit of speed, you want to try something. I just managed to get a step around him and tried to get a shot on and luckily it went through," Sutter said.
Vancouver coach Travis Green wasn't sure when to use the returning centre in the extra period.
"They're got some big bodies and some of the centermen are big. I just felt like I had to use him. I was torn to put him out that one or give him an extra shift off," he said.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Sutter beats Dub to get the dub! <a href="https://t.co/6V16KtOF51">pic.twitter.com/6V16KtOF51</a>—@Canucks
Vancouver trailed late in the third period before rallying to win its second straight after going 1-7-2 in its previous 10. The Canucks, who won 5-2 Friday in Columbus, hadn't won two in a row since taking three straight Nov. 30-Dec. 5.
Loui Eriksson and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Canucks who played without Daniel Sedin. The team's third-leading goal scorer with 10 was a late scratch with back spasms.
Green expects Sedin to return next weekend after the team's five-day break.
Jason Zucker and Daniel Winnik scored for Minnesota, 5-0-2 in its last seven homes games.
The Wild are also taking their mandatory break, and wanted to finish a four-games-in-six-night stretch on high note. They've earned earned six of a possible eight points in the stretch.
"Just looking at tonight, it's pretty disappointing having the lead with three minutes left in the game and not coming away with the win. But I guess big picture wise, we're slowly climbing the standings, so that's a good thing," Zach Parise said.
Wild 'pushing in the right direction'
Vanek redirected a slap shot from Sam Gagner between Dubnyk's pads to tie it with 3:12 left in regulation. Winnik scored on a one-timer from the left circle with 7:46 to play to put the Wild ahead 2-1.
While Vancouver is likely in sell mode as the trade deadline approaches late next month, Minnesota holds the first wild card spot in the Western Conference with five teams within four points.
"We are definitely pushing in the right direction, that's for sure," Nate Prosser said. "As a team we're all playing together better. You can sense it on the ice and in the locker room. We are building."
The singing of the Canadian National Anthem was drowned out by fans cheering in the concourse watching the Minnesota Vikings score on the game's final play to beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFL playoffs.
"That was an exciting game," Dubnyk said. "We were all paying attention in here as we got ready. It's a big part of the city so it's nice they were able to get it done."
Boeser's fired up the <a href="https://twitter.com/Vikings?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Vikings</a> won! <a href="https://t.co/qTgRG4u86T">pic.twitter.com/qTgRG4u86T</a>—@Canucks
A pair of Canucks with Minnesota ties were also OK with the clamour.
"I'm sure they didn't mean any disrespect there but all of a sudden you hear the big cheer and Brock [Boeser] and I kind of looked at each other . and we're like, no way, and then we saw the replay and wow, what a play," said Vanek, who spent two seasons with the Wild (2014-16). Boeser grew up in suburban Burnsville.