VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—The Minnesota Wild used a franchise-record scoring burst to get back into their playoff series with Vancouver.
“We were looking for breaks in this series and I think we got all of them today,” Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. “The puck was rolling for us and we were able to make plays and the puck was going.”
“It s a good confidence builder for your hockey team anytime you score seven goals,” said Wild defenseman Willie Mitchell, who played despite an injured right wrist and was selected the game’s third star.
Minnesota still trails 3-2 in the series heading home for Game 6 Wednesday night. Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Vancouver on Thursday.
Both teams overcame 3-1 series deficits in the first round, and the Wild are looking to become the first team to do it twice in the same postseason.
“Tonight is a big win for us, but we’ve got a long road to go,” Mitchell added. “We played pretty well against Colorado with our backs against the wall, and they were in a similar situation too, and they know anything can happen.”
Vancouver goaltender Dan Cloutier gave up six goals on 21 shots and was pulled after two periods for rookie Alex Auld.
“Our composure wasn’t good, our patience wasn’t good and our battle level wasn’t good,” said Canucks coach Marc Crawford. “If there’s one consolation, it’s that this was a group loss tonight.”
Minnesota broke open a close game with five unanswered goals in the second period.
After Park scored on the game’s first shot at 3:20, Morrison tied it with 1:47 left in the first period, and the Canucks appeared to take over the momentum with a handful of big hits. But Ronning restored the lead on a long point shot during a 4-on-3 power play 1:08 into the second period, and the Wild never looked back.
“It was an awful performance by pretty much everyone here,” said Canucks captain Markus Naslund. “The first period we were OK, but then we got down a goal, and all of a sudden we didn’t play the way we were supposed to.”
Marshall converted Brunette’s rebound and Brunette scored a goal of his own after a bad Canucks line change. With only four Canucks on the ice, Brunette beat Ed Jovanovski behind the net and roofed a backhander from the side of the crease.
Gaborik, left unchecked at the side of the net, banged in a rebound at 16:07.
“The puck was moved very well tonight and we got some lucky bounces,” said Ronning, who made it 6-1 just over three minutes later after picking off Jovanovski’s pass in front of the Vancouver net.
“Personally I was terrible,” said Jovanovski, who was minus-4 in the second period as the Canucks gave up five goals in a period for the first time in their playoff history.
Sedin scored with 43 seconds left in the second, and things got interesting when Roloson bumped Trevor Linden as the teams left the ice after the period.
Cloutier challenged Roloson and threw a couple of errant punches before the referees pulled him away. Roloson and Cloutier both received roughing minors, but Cloutier got an extra penalty for leaving his crease.
The physical play continued when Gaborik took a hard elbow from Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund two minutes into the third and lay prone on the ice. Gaborik had to be helped to the locker room, but returned midway through the period.
Walz scored shorthanded with 3:40 left.
^Notes: The road team has won every game in this series since Game 1. .. The Canucks have led only 38 minutes, 23 seconds—all in a Game 3 win—of the entire series. … Wild D Brad Bombardir didn’t play after returning in Game 4 from a 30-game absence because of a back injury. Wild LW Pascal Dupuis left in the third period with an undisclosed lower body injury. … Jovanovski failed to score for the first time in five games, leaving him one short of Paul Coffey’s 1983 record for consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman.