Around this time last month, the Minnesota Wild was in a free fall. Seems like a distant memory right now.
The Wild defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a final score of 5-3 on Monday, taking advantage of some sloppy defensive lapses from the Pacific Division visitors and forcing Ryan Miller from the net, for the team’s sixth straight victory, and eighth in its last 10 games.
Suddenly, the playoffs seem possible.
The Wild moved to 58 points, which put it three back of the Calgary Flames for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, with the Flames also in action Monday.
Behind Minnesota’s recent success is goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has started in each of the Wild’s last six wins. He has three shutouts in that span, although he was beaten three times by the Canucks, who had 25 shots on goal.
Wild forwards Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter left the game in the first period, both upper-body injuries, said head coach Mike Yeo, as per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“We should not expect them back in the lineup in the near future,” said Yeo.
After a solid shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, the Canucks got to within a goal early in the second period, but then coughed up two goals in 54 seconds as the Wild increased its lead to three.
“It’s frustrating. To make the playoffs you have to string wins together and we have to find a way to do that,” said Canucks forward Zack Kassian, who scored for the second time in as many games.
Canucks center Nick Bonino left the game after blocking a shot in the second period.
That could leave the Canucks in a pinch, especially up the middle, with Brad Richardson out with a foot injury.