Wild sidestep elimination for fifth time this postseason

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild won't go away, or stop

scoring.

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border=0 alt="Andrew Brunette">

size="-2" color="#666666"> Brunette

Andrew Brunette's two goals led another unlikely outburst by the

Wild, who sidestepped elimination for the fifth time this

postseason with a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on

Wednesday night.

"We're a resilient bunch," Brunette said.

The Western Conference semifinal series is tied at 3, with a

deciding Game 7 set for Thursday in Vancouver.

The winner will face the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the West

finals. Both the Canucks and Wild rallied from 3-1 deficits in the

first round.

"I like the fact we've been through it once," Canucks coach

Marc Crawford said of Game 7. "We have to play a full 60 minutes.

Our guys are ready to do that. Better we made a mistake tonight and

not tomorrow night."

Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves for Minnesota, who also got goals

from Darby Hendrickson, Antti Laaksonen and seldom-used Lubomir

Sekeras. Cliff Ronning had three assists, and Marian Gaborik added

two as the Wild went 3-for-5 on the power play.

The Wild, who've scored 12 goals the last two games, are an

NHL-leading 14-for-55 (25.5 percent) on the man advantage during

the postseason.

These rivals have played a very physical series, but the Canucks

didn't get away with any rough stuff on Wednesday. They took eight

penalties.

"They deserve it," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We look

at tapes, too. I know a lot of times we do complain, but when we

complain we have something to back it up.

"It's a team that plays aggressively. Maybe they don't respect

the power play that much. I don't know what they think."

Crawford was pleased with the effort but not the result.

"The penalties got us in trouble," he said. "We just have to

be more determined to kill them off."

Minnesota was a surprise qualifier for the playoffs in its third

season. The Wild became just the fourth team in NHL history to win

five elimination games in one postseason.

No team has ever overcome two 3-1 series deficits in the same

postseason. The Wild trailed Colorado by that number in the first

round before winning three straight -- two in Denver.

"If you asked us at the beginning of the series if we could

play one game versus Vancouver, winner takes all," Brunette said,

"certainly we'd take it."

Hendrickson, Laaksonen and Brunette scored in a third period

that turned ugly toward the end. Eight of the game's 15 penalties

were called in the final frame.

Ed Jovanovski scored his seventh goal of the playoffs for the

Canucks, who have not lost three straight all season.

"You might as well throw the other six games out now,"

Jovanovski said.

Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier, pulled after giving up six goals in

two periods on Monday, fell apart in the final period amid

thundering chants of "Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!" from the overflow

crowd of 19,350.

Neither team made their goalie available for comment.

"Danny's fine,'' teammate Todd Bertuzzi said. "Danny's a

strong individual. He's one of the reason's why we're in the

situation that we're in. He's a very confident goalie."

That said, there has to be some doubts creeping in for the

Canucks.

"I'm not really worried about them," Brunette said. "We feel

good about ourselves, if we do what we need to do. If we run around

like we did tonight in the first period, we're not going to do

well."

The Canucks, admittedly embarrassed by their effort and the

outcome of Monday's 7-2 home loss in Game 5, completely controlled

the first period and outshot the Wild 12-4.

Vancouver's defense, led by Brent Sopel, Mattias Ohlund and

Jovanovski, blocked dozens of shots and kept Minnesota from getting

any quality scoring chances or finding any offensive flow.

Roloson -- 4-4 in the postseason -- was sharp, though, and the

Wild looked like a new team in the next period. They didn't quite

match the franchise-record five goals they scored in the second

period on Monday, but they came close.

With nine seconds left on a power play, Cloutier knocked

Gaborik's shot away _ right to Brunette, who didn't get a clean

shot off as he fell forward. It still went in, giving Minnesota the

lead.

Trevor Linden was whistled for high-sticking later in the

period, and Sekeras sent a blistering slap shot high over a

screened Cloutier's shoulder with five seconds remaining on the man

advantage to make it 2-0.

The Canucks' high-scoring top line of Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund

and Brendan Morrison continued its quiet series. Yet they remained

confident.

"I still believe that if we play the way we're supposed to,

that we're going to beat them," Naslund said.

Game notes

Gaborik leads the league with 17 playoff points. ... The

other three teams who have won five or more elimination games in

one postseason: the New York Islanders in 1975 and 1987 and

Vancouver in 1994. ... Canucks D Sami Salo was scratched with

flulike symptoms. ... Laaksonen returned after being a healthy

scratch the previous two games. He played every game in franchise

history before that. ... Sekeras, scratched 18 times during the

regular season, had only eight shots on goal in the first 12

postseason games.