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Wild surprise Canucks in B.C., 3-1

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Charlie Coyle scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves and the Minnesota Wild took sole possession of the Northwest Division lead with a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

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Jonas Brodin and Matt Cullen also scored for the Wild, who moved two points ahead of Vancouver for the division lead with their eighth win in the last 11 games.

Henrik Sedin scored as the Canucks suffered their second straight loss and 11th in 16 games.

Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo made his fourth straight start despite being in net for Vancouver's 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Luongo, who finished with 22 saves, foiled Cal Clutterbuck on a rush up the middle in the first period and also stopped Coyle on a close-range shot from the wing.

The Canucks nearly put the puck in their own net during a power play later in the first. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa nearly put it into Luongo's empty net after mishandling an exchange with the goaltender.

Vancouver's power play struggled at the other end of the ice, too, going scoreless on a pair of opportunities in the first.

About 4 minutes into the second, Backstrom stopped Daniel Sedin on a dangerous deflection.

Minnesota did not get a shot in the second until Devin Setoguchi's slapper forced Luongo to get his left pad down in time.

Backstrom then gloved a Jason Garrison wrist shot and watched as Tom Sestito's backhand sailed just over the crossbar. He also stymied Sedin as he tried to backhand the puck through his own legs, and denied him again on a mid-air deflection. But Sedin finally turned the red light on during a power play midway through the second when he put in Garrison's rebound.

The goal ended Vancouver's power-play drought after 36 unsuccessful opportunities dating to Feb. 21 against Dallas.

However, Brodin, the NHL's youngest defenseman (19 years, eight months) created a 1-1 tie less than 5 minutes later on a slapshot from the point during a power play.

Coyle gave the Wild a 2-1 lead at 3:20 of the third, deflecting Clayton Stoner's point shot off the crossbar.

Cullen increased Minnesota's lead to 3-1 about 6 minutes later when he converted a give-and-go against Chris Tanev after Keith Ballard got caught up ice and could not get back into position in time. The goal ended Cullen's scoreless skid at 11 games.

Notes: Backstrom recorded his eighth consecutive start in goal for the Wild. ... Canucks trainer Mike Burnstein worked his 1,500th game. ``Keep it going - keep (players) going,'' said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault in a pre-recorded video tribute. ... The Canucks recalled Jordan Schroeder from Chicago of the AHL earlier Monday to replace David Booth, who suffered a leg injury against Detroit. Schroeder, Vancouver's first choice (22nd overall in 2009), skated on the fourth line. ... Ballard returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous three games as a healthy scratch. He replaced Andrew Alberts, who was scratched.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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