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Minnesota 3, Vancouver 2
Posted: Monday April 28, 2003 03:02 AM
Minnesota Wild
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Minneapolis-Saint Paul
 

Vancouver Canucks
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- Different goaltender, different result for the Minnesota Wild.

Sergei Zholtok and Wes Walz scored 63 seconds apart early in the third period and the Wild barely avoided another late collapse, holding on for a 3-2 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks that tied their Western Conference semifinal series at one win each.

In Game One, Minnesota squandered a two-goal lead in the third period as Matt Cooke scored with 1.2 seconds left to force overtime and Trent Klatt got the game-winner on a power play 3:42 into the extra session.

The goals by Zholtok and Walz gave the Wild another 3-1 cushion with 17:55 remaining. But Vancouver pulled goalie Dan Cloutier for an extra attacker with two minutes to play, a move that paid off 32 seconds later when defenseman Mattias Ohlund scored his second playoff goal.

The Canucks swarmed the Minnesota net in the final minute, but Dwayne Roloson - who spent the previous four games on the bench - stopped Markus Naslund's backhander from the edge of the right faceoff circle with 22 seconds left.

"We had to be a little sharper towards the end," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Maybe we took it lightly last game. You think you're fine and you're not because (Vancouver) is a team that can come back. They prove it, and you've got to be careful."

Roloson finished with 29 saves to help the Wild grab home-ice advantage. They host Game Three on Tuesday.

"This series, I don't think it's going to matter," Walz said. "Home or away or out in the parking lot, it's going to be a battle here right to the end."

"We played well on the road all year. Hopefully, we can get that going now and win a couple of games," Naslund said.

Defenseman Ed Jovanovski's goal with 2:42 left in the second period forged a 1-1 tie and swung the momentum to Vancouver. But the Canucks were penalized 1:41 later for having too many men on the ice, giving Minnesota a power play that carried into the third period.

The Wild did not score on the man advantage but regained the lead three seconds after the penalty expired. Andrew Brunette had the puck behind the net and threw it in front to Zholtok, who charged down the slot and one-timed a shot past goalie Dan Cloutier.

"The goal at the end of the penalty-kill was disturbing," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "It was a letdown, one chance, and they ended up with a goal. It was a mental error."

Just over a minute later, Marian Gaborik got a drop pass from Pascal Dupuis at the top of the left circle and whipped a cross-ice pass off the skate of Vancouver defenseman Murray Baron. The puck found Walz, who fought off Naslund while crashing the net and steered it past Cloutier.

"It's a funny situation," said Walz, who tallied twice in the series opener. "I'm scoring a few goals, but I don't feel I'm at the top of my game."

After squandering a power-play chance, the Canucks' frustrations spilled over as Todd Bertuzzi was penalized for holding with 8:29 remaining and smashed his stick on the top of the net.

Vancouver waited a little longer to start its comeback this time. With Cloutier on the bench, Ohlund got a long rebound of fellow defenseman Sami Salo's slap shot and threaded it through a maze of players and past Roloson.

"We shouldn't have been down," said Naslund, who had a five-game goal-scoring streak stopped. "We cost ourselves by letting them take the lead. We've got to learn before it's too late. We've invited them back into the series. We could've had a 2-0 lead if we just played the way we could."

Both teams had eight shots in an evenly played first period, but Minnesota scored first for the second straight game. Dupuis had the puck along the left boards and pushed the puck back to Gaborik, who slapped a one-timer over Cloutier's left shoulder for his fifth playoff goal.

Roloson kept the Canucks off the board, stopping Bertuzzi twice from close range on a power play with 7:54 to go in the second.

"He was very sharp," Lemaire said. "I made the decision last minute to put him in. At the last minute, we just wanted to make sure with all the coaching staff that it was the best thing for the club."

 


 
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