ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Pitting the Minnesota Wild's top-ranked postseason power play against the Vancouver Canucks' next-to-last penalty-killing unit seemed like a mismatch. But no one took into account the Canucks' ability to score with the man advantage.
Daniel Sedin scored Vancouver's third power-play goal of the game 12:33 into the second period to snap a tie and give the Canucks a 3-2 triumph over the Wild in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The bad blood from Game Two carried over into this one, as Matt Johnson and Brad May fought immediately after the opening faceoff. But once tempers settled, the Canucks took their first lead of the series on a power-play tally by Brendan Morrison.
With a 23.5 percent rating (8-for-34) on the man advantage, Minnesota drew even less than six minutes later on defenseman Filip Kuba's tally.
Kuba cost his team early in the second, taking a high-sticking penalty that led to defenseman Ed Jovanovski's third goal in as many games. But Marian Gaborik answered with a power-play tally 10 minutes into the period.
With just 13 shots in the game, none was bigger for Vancouver than Sedin's redirection of twin brother Henrik's pass while on the power play. It was Daniel's first goal of the playoffs for the Canucks, who grabbed a two games to one lead in the series.
"We moved the puck around real well, and I was just trying to put it on net," Daniel Sedin said. "It was tough to get any space out there offensively, so it was important for us, when we did get an opportunity, to capitalize."
"The power play was big for both teams," Minnesota defenseman Nick Schultz said. "If you give up three on the power play, you're not going to win a lot of games."
The Wild look to even the series when they host Game Four on Friday.
With three sporting events taking place in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on Tuesday night, the Wild established a single-game attendance record with a crowd of 19,394.
The Wild, who were fined by the NHL earlier in the day for their actions at the end of Game Two, gave the record crowd something to cheer about when Johnson battled May at center ice seven seconds into the contest.
"It might have carried over a little bit," Morrison said. "Obviously, right off the bat there with Johnson and May, emotions were running high and sparked both teams. But you can't hold grudges at this time of year and look to get revenge out there. The stakes are too high."
"We knew there was some bad blood, especially from the last game," Wild center Jim Dowd said. "We've got to learn from it and stay out of the (penalty) box."
Morrison silenced the Xcel Energy Center just over six minutes later.
With Kuba in the penalty box for high-sticking, Vancouver captain Markus Naslund wristed a shot from above the right faceoff circle that Dwayne Roloson stopped. The rebound came right to Morrison, who slipped it under the goaltender's left pad at 6:25 for his third postseason goal.
"I think we tried to have Nassie walk a little higher and spread out their box, and open up a few more options," Morrison said.
"I think we did a few different offensive things, and we used them," Naslund added. "We tried to be not too predictable, and I think we used different ways to score."
Kuba redeemed himself at 11:47, taking Dowd's backhanded feed and firing it past Dan Cloutier from low in the left circle to even the game.
With their defensemen accounting for nine of their 24 previous playoff goals, the Canucks took advantage of another penalty against Kuba.
Standing unnoticed on the doorstep, Jovanovski took a pass from Morrison that went through the crease and punched it in at 4:34 of the second for his fifth of the playoffs.
"We tried the same thing in the St. Louis series with some success," Jovanovski said. "You try to draw guys to you and hopefully, there's a guy freed up. I just went to the back post and Mo made a great play."
"He's really stepped up offensively, jumping in," Morrison said. "He's done a great job for us."
Entering the contest with a four-game points streak, Gaborik got a feed from Sergei Zholtok just inside the blue line and unleashed a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Cloutier high to the glove side at 10:08.
Jason Marshall took the Wild's seventh penalty of the game and it proved to be the most costly.
On the ensuing power play, Henrik Sedin wristed a pass from along the right boards that his brother Daniel redirected into the right side of the net as Roloson was headed the other way, giving Vancouver a 3-2 advantage.
"We know in every series that special teams are going to be a factor, and it was the difference here tonight," Jovanovski said.
Attempting to draw Minnesota even, Gaborik fired another wrist shot from the slot with 1:51 remaining in the second. But Cloutier was able to snag it with his glove to maintain the Canucks' lead.
The Wild had two man advantages midway through the third but were unable to generate a quality scoring chance against Cloutier.
"In this game, our power play responded and their power play responded," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "We got the big kills in the end, and that was the difference."
"It came down to power plays," Dowd said. "There were good battles out there. It was a good hard-fought game by both teams. We've just got to move on from it, have a good practice and get ready for the next game."