Matt Dumba scored his first goal of the season midway through the third period, leading the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over Vancouver on Tuesday night, spoiling the Canucks’ home opener.
Mats Zuccarello and Jonas Brodin also scored for the Wild (5-1-0). Cam Talbot made 22 saves for Minnesota, which rebounded from a loss to Nashville on Sunday.
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“It’s awesome,” said Talbot. “We talked about never losing two in a row. Walking into a tough building in their home opener, they’re obviously going to get a bit of crowd momentum.
“We established our game early, took a lead, which we weren’t able to do this year, so I think that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Alex Chiasson scored on the power play and Bo Horvat added a goal for the Canucks (3-3-1), who saw their two-game winning streak interrupted. Thatcher Demko stopped 27 shots for Vancouver.
The Vancouver home opener was the first full-capacity game at Rogers Arena in 595 days.
The last time the Canucks played before a full house was in a 5-4 shootout victory over the New York Islanders on March 10, 2020, two days before the NHL was put on hiatus in due to COVID-19. The team played without fans in the stands during last year’s cropped season.
Talbot made a big save on Vancouver’s Brock Boeser in the first period to keep the game 1-0.
“It creates momentum,” said Talbot, who is 5-0. “I just try to go out there and make those big saves whenever I get the chance.
“We are taking a lead, we want to try to keep it.”
Dumba’s goal came after Vancouver’s Brock Boeser unleashed a powerful shot that passed the Minnesota net and around the board. The Wild moved the puck onto the ice and Dumba scored a pass from Rem Pitlick.
Horvat reduced the lead to 3-2 at 3:53 pm after receiving a long pass from defenseman Tyler Myers, repelling a defenseman’s check from the Wild and scoring on a backhand.
“It was a close chess game, it felt like a playoff game,” said Horvat. “They’re all over you, all over you all the time.
“What killed us was a few turnovers. We have to be better than that.”
A Canucks turnaround gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead at 2:27 of the second period. Vancouver defenseman Jack Rathbone spat the puck at his own blue line. Brodin landed a shot that Demko stopped, but then scored his first of the season on the rebound.
“We didn’t create much, we didn’t capitalize on a couple that we would have liked to have,” said Canucks coach Travis Green.
“I thought they were a little heavier on a few pucks. We handed in a few pucks that we would have liked to recover.
The Wild approached a few minutes later on a partial breakaway. Kevin Fiala fed Frederick Gaudreau in front of the net, but Demko made the save.
Vancouver reduced the lead to 2-1 on the power play at 10:26. With Nick Bjugstad out for interference and Marcus Foligno playing without a stick, the Canucks controlled the puck in the Wild. With five seconds left on the penalty, Elias Pettersson sent a pass in goal and Chiasson directed the puck past Talbot.
Minnesota came close before the end of the period when Pitlick made a breakaway after coming out of the box. But, his shot hit the post.
The Wild opened the scoring at 7:41 from the first. Zuccarello got behind Canucks defensemen Tucker Poolman and Quinn Hughes, caught a long pass from Joel Eriksson Ek and beat Demko through the pads for his third goal of the season.
The Canucks had the best scoring chance of the period minutes later in a 3-1 breakaway. Boeser landed a powerful shot from a JT Miller supply but Talbot made the save.
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REMARKS: Zuccarello’s goal was the first time the Wild had opened the scoring this season. … Vancouver returned home after a six-game road trip, his longest of the season. … Eriksson Ek’s assist on the first goal was the 100th point of his career. … Travis Green led his 296th regular season game, leaving him fourth in coaching with the Canucks. Alain Vigneault leads with 540.… Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman left the game at the end of the second period and did not return.
Minnesota: In Seattle for Game 2 of a three-game trip.
Vancouver: Welcomes Philadelphia in Game 2 of a seven-game homestand.