Varied attack helps Canucks snap out of offensive funk

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks enjoyed a rare offensive outburst against an unlikely opponent.

Six different players scored as the Canucks broke out of a long scoring slump in Vancouver with a 6-2 win over the normally stingy Minnesota Wild on Friday night.

Averaging a league-low 1.67 goals a game on home ice and coming off a 1-0 shootout loss to Edmonton on Wednesday, the Canucks jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 16:32, matching their goal total from the previous four home games combined.

"It was foreign territory for us, said Brendan Morrison, who had two assists. "It doesn't happen that often. It's usually 2-1, 3-2, really low-scoring, tight-checking games [against Minnesota]. They've got a couple of injuries and their goalies weren't at their best tonight, but we'll take that."

Taylor Pyatt and Mattias Ohlund scored at even strength, and Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin added power-play goals in the first period as Vancouver won for just the third time in 10 games at GM Place this season.

Trevor Linden added his first goal of the season early in the second period, and Luc Bourdon scored his first NHL goal on a power play with 2:03 left as the Canucks improved to 4-0-1 since top defensemen Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa both suffered serious injuries in the same game.

Luongo made 20 saves for Vancouver, which improved to 7-0-1 in the Northwest Division, moving within three points of Minnesota, which has lost eight of its past 11 after a quick start.

"It's a nice feeling to have a good cushion once in a while, said Roberto Luongo, who lost Wednesday despite earning a shutout. "It's definitely easier mentally than close games."

Aaron Voros scored late in the first period. But by then the Wild, who won 4-2 in Edmonton the night before, were already trailing 4-0 and into their second goaltender. Minnesota is seventh in the NHL in goals against.

Things got worse for the Wild -- and maybe the Canucks injury riddled defense -- when Vancouver defenseman Ohlund responded to a high hit from Mikko Koivu with a two-handed slash across the back of the left leg with 3:54 left.

Koivu, who was penalized for elbowing, had to be helped off the ice, while Ohlund received a five-minute slashing penalty and may be suspended.

"He could have broken his leg, said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, refusing to speculate further on a possible suspension.

Koivu was limping around the locker room after the game, but also refused any comment on the incident or how seriously he might be hurt.

Minnesota's Derek Boogaard, a 6-foot-7, 258-pound enforcer, was less hesitant to talk.

"It was a two-handed baseball swing obviously a slash like that, you expect to see at least a five-game suspension, said Boogaard, who was given a 10-minute misconduct and a double minor for roughing with five minutes left in the game. The two teams meet again in Minnesota on Wednesday.

"We'll see how things play out on Wednesday," Boogaard said. "Their so-called agitators were taking liberties but as soon as I step on the ice, they scatter to their holes. I'm not going to stand for it."

Pyatt was alone in the slot to open the scoring 2:46 in after a Voros turnover, and Naslund knocked in a power-play rebound at 9:16, ending a slump that had seen the Canucks go without a goal on their past 19 power-play chances at home.

Ohlund, alone in the slot on another rebound after pinching in from the point, made it 3-0 -- and ended Josh Harding's night -- less than three minutes later.

Beaten three times on 11 shots, Harding was replaced by Niklas Backstrom, who had been pulled after two periods in Edmonton the night before.

"The last game against Edmonton we couldn't put any by their goalie but these things even out and we got a lot tonight," Morrison said. "We could have used one of these the other night, we didn't need all six tonight."

Luongo stopped Marian Gaborik on a third-period breakaway and Koivu hit the post on another chance before Brent Burns rounded out the scoring with a power-play one-timer.

Game notes
Gaborik played both ends of the back-to-back games after missing three games with a groin injury, the second time this season he's been out with the recurring problem. Vancouver LW Jeff Cowan returned after missing 12 games with a hip flexor injury. RW Jannik Hansen was a healthy scratch. Canucks RW Brad Isbister set up Pyatt's goal while playing his 500th career NHL game. Wild D Keith Carney was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Edmonton for the eighth time this season and set up Voros' goal.