Wild 3, Canucks 2

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—This time the Minnesota Wild held on.

Sergei Zholtok and Wes Walz scored just over a minute apart early in the third period and the Wild survived another late rally to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Sunday night and even their second-round playoff series.

The Canucks, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period in Game 1, pulled goalie Dan Cloutier with two minutes left. They got within a goal when Mattias Ohlund scored at 18:28 and continued to pour on pressure until the final buzzer.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t creep into my mind,” Walz said of the Game 1 rally. “I got to admit there was a lot less emotion on the bench after they scored to make it 3-2. That doesn’t always mean you’re going to hang on, but it’s nice to see the guys are poised on the bench.”

Marian Gaborik added a goal and an assist, and Pascal Dupuis had two assists for the Wild, who return home for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Friday.

Vancouver won the opener 4-3 when Trent Klatt scored in overtime last Friday, and Klatt almost tied this one on a scramble with 54.7 seconds left. But Wild defenseman Willie Mitchell closed his hand on the puck in the crease.

“It was pretty obvious the way the scramble was in the crease that there’s no possible way the puck can get from the ice to the corner in the air without someone grabbing it and throwing it,” Canucks forward Trevor Linden said.

The infraction, which should result in a penalty shot, went undetected, and a video review showed that the puck never crossed the line.

“I’m not sure, you guys would know better than I do. You’ve got the cameras,” Mitchell said with a smile. “You’re just swinging and swatting at everything.”

After the buzzer, several fights broke out near the benches. Five players were given misconducts, including a game misconduct handed out to Mitchell. He had been sent off for roughing seven seconds earlier and came back out onto the ice.

“It was the type of game where sticks and gloves and elbows were up,” Mitchell said. “Sometime as players or as a team you’ve got to protect yourself out there, and that’s what you saw.”

Ed Jovanovski, who along with Todd Bertuzzi received misconducts, also scored for the Canucks. Vancouver lost for the first time in five games.

“Stuff happens and we butted heads at the end and that’s pretty much it,” Jovanovski said.

Zholtok broke a 1-1 tie at 1:02 of the third, just seconds after a Vancouver penalty for too many men on the ice expired. He cut down the middle untouched and one-timed Andrew Brunette’s pass from behind the net past Cloutier.

Walz, who scored twice in the third period of Game 1, made it 3-1 just 1:03 later.

“We just want to be in every game and give ourselves a chance going down the stretch,” Walz said. “Marian had a great game and Dwayne (Roloson) was very solid in net.”

Roloson, out since Game 4 of the first round because of a groin injury, replaced Manny Fernandez and made 29 saves. Fernandez had better playoff numbers after backstopping the final three first-round wins over Colorado, but Roloson was 2-0-1 against Vancouver this season and 6-2-2 in his career.

“You never know what (coach) Jacques (Lemaire) is going to do,” said Roloson, who found out he was starting during the pregame meal. “He switched things up all the time and anytime you get to play you just have to be ready.”

Roloson was especially sharp in the first, stopping Matt Cooke on a partial breakaway, and robbing Markus Naslund and Artem Chubarov from close range in the last five minutes of the period.

Cloutier made just 15 saves.

Gaborik opened the scoring on Minnesota’s first shot of the second period after the Canucks had a couple of good chances to clear the puck. Dupuis got the puck along the boards and fed Gaborik in the left circle for a one-timer.

Jovanovski’s fourth goal of the playoffs tied it with 2:42 left in the second period after Trevor Linden spotted him trailing unchecked on a three-on-two rush.

Both teams finished 0-for-3 on the power play.


Minnesota C Jim Dowd returned to practice Saturday after missing Game 1 to return to New Jersey for the birth of his second child. He was a healthy scratch in Game 2. … Wild RW Bill Muckalt, who grew up in a nearby suburb and started his career with Vancouver, got back into the lineup after sitting outtarted his career with Vancouver, got back into the lineup after sitting out Game 1. LW Jeremy Stevenson came out with an undisclosed injury. … Naslund’s five-game playoff goal-scoring streak ended. The run tied a franchise recordset by current Wild C Cliff Ronning in 1991.

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