Sedins propel Canucks to top of Northwest Division
Despite managing only 19 shots, the Vancouver Canucks survived the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night to take sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division.
Henrik Sedin scored at the four-minute mark of overtime to lift the Canucks to a 2-1 victory over the hometown Wild.
Vancouver (42-25-9, 93 points) moves one point ahead of the Calgary Flames (43-27-6, 92 points) in the Northwest.
"It's very important. Now we're in charge of our own destiny," said Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler. "The division is up to us to have now — it's not up to whether Calgary wins or loses. It's been a long time since we've had a hold of it."
With the teams deadlocked through 60 minutes, the Canucks finally put the game away with a minute remaining in the extra period.
Daniel Sedin dropped a nifty back pass to his brother Henrik, who blasted a shot to the blocker side of Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom.
Sedin twins on fire
The Sedin twins have been red-hot on this six-game road trip. Daniel has piled up four goals and five assists in his last four games, while Henrik has scored four goals and six assists during the same stretch.
"The twins this past month when we've had 15 games to play have been our top production guys," said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. "They've done it in pressure moments, and that's good for us with the playoffs around the corner."
The goal wouldn't have been possible if not for the brilliant performance of Roberto Luongo.
The Vancouver netminder made 33 saves, including an 11-0 barrage by the Wild in the third period. Luongo continued to stone Minnesota in overtime, denying the Wild during a four-on-three power play.
The victory was Luongo's 30th of the season, giving him 30 or more wins for the fourth straight year. Since dropping eight in a row in January, Vancouver has gone 20-5-1 while also winning four of six games during this recent road swing.
"Back in January not many people thought we'd be in the spot we are, but we've worked hard for where we are," Luongo said. "We need to make sure here in the last few games that we keep pushing and try to get that third seed."
Former Minnesota forward Pavol Demitra scored his 300th NHL goal. Demitra gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead with 1:02 left in the second period.
Demitra banked in a power-play goal off Wild defenceman Kim Johnsson and behind Backstrom, who finished with 17 saves.
Winger Marian Gaborik scored the equalizer for Minnesota at 5:14 of the third, flipping a shot off Luongo's glove and in.
"I felt that we didn't have enough on the power play," said Minnesota head coach Jacques Lemaire, whose squad went 0-5 with the man advantage. "You just can't be waiting, waiting. You have to put the puck on net."
The Wild (36-32-9) are tied for 10th place with the Edmonton Oilers — two points behind the St. Louis Blues and three points behind the Nashville Predators, who cling to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"Everybody gave 100 per cent and we couldn't come up with the two points," said Wild forward Stéphane Veilleux. "That seventh and eighth playoff spot are tough to get, so not getting that extra point hurts."
With files from the Associated Press