Canucks 4, Wild 1

Mike Cook, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Cory Schneider stopped 22 shots, Mason Raymond had a goal and assist, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.
Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen also scored for the Canucks, who won their fourth straight.
Tom Gilbert scored for the Wild, who lost their third straight. Minnesota has scored just three goals in those games.
Schneider, who was penciled as the team's top goaltender entering the season, has spent the past four games on the bench as Roberto Luongo has been outstanding with a 3-0-1 record, a 1.18 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. However, Luongo has struggled in St. Paul, being pulled in his last three starts.
Even though he hadn't seen game action in 11 days, Schneider looked confident throughout, squaring up shooters, moving well side to side and not giving up big rebounds.
Vancouver dominated the first period scoring twice, which was one fewer goal than Minnesota had shots.
Sedin scored midway through the frame, as he charged down the slot just in time to put a rebound of a backhand by Alex Burrows into an open net.
Five minutes later, just as a Wild penalty expired, Higgins netted his first goal of the year by tipping a shot from Maxim Lapierre between the pads of Niklas Backstrom and into the Wild net. Backstrom finished with 12 saves and was replaced by Josh Harding for the third period.
In an effort to wake up a slumbering offense -- the Wild have just 21 goals in 10 games -- Minnesota mixed up its top lines for the contest with Charlie Coyle joining Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu on the team's top line, and Dany Heatley dropping to the second line with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Neither line played particularly well.
The Wild picked up its intensity in the second, but Schneider was at his best. He slid across to stop Parise low in the slot about eight minutes in and got a right pad on a slapshot from Devin Setoguchi on a power play about three minutes later.
The Canucks, now 4-0-1 against division foes, put the game away before the second period was done by scoring twice in 95 seconds.
After a scramble in front, the puck came out to Raymond, who scored on a slapshot from the left circle at 17:17. A pass from Raymond in his own end then sprung Hansen for a breakaway at 18:52. It was Hansen's second goal in as many games.
Gilbert scored a power-play goal 7:25 into the third to ruin Schneider's bid for a second shutout in three games.
NOTES: Center Mike Rupp, acquired Monday from the New York Rangers, played his first game as a member of the Wild. The 6-foot-5, 243-pounder should add some toughness in the offensive zone. ... Luongo has a shutout streak of 195:23 against Minnesota, with all that action occurring in British Columbia. He's been pulled in his last three games at the Xcel Energy Center. His last start in the building was Oct. 19, 2010. ... The game was just Minnesota's second against a division foe and begins a stretch where seven of nine contests are against teams in the Northwest Division. ... Both teams are home Saturday. Vancouver against Calgary and Minnesota against Nashville.

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