It’s truly Wild when Hank scores

Winning goal was play­mak­ing Sedin’s first ever marker against Min­nesota

Vancouver Sun - - Sports - BY BRAD ZIEMER

SAINT PAUL, Minn. --Hen­rik Sedin was ob­vi­ously just wait­ing for the right time to score a goal against the Min­nesota Wild.

In 26 pre­vi­ous games against the Wild, Hen­rik had no goals and 24 as­sists.

He could not have picked a bet­ter time to end that drought than Tues­day night, when he wired a slap­shot past Wild goalie Nik­las Back­strom at 4: 00 of over­time to give the Van­cou­ver Canucks a 2-1 win and the North­west Divi­sion lead.

And while he hasn’t been lighting the lamp against the Wild — his last goal against Min­nesota came way back on Oct. 25, 2005 — Sedin has been shoot­ing more and scor­ing more of late. Funny how that works.

Tues­day night’s goal was his 19th of the sea­son, a ca­reer­high, and his sev­enth in the last 10 games.

“ I’m shoot­ing more,” Hen­rik said. “[ Brother] Danny has been telling me for seven years now to shoot more.”

Hen­rik said be­ing able to bury some shots ear­lier this sea­son helped give him some ex­tra con­fi­dence when it comes to shoot­ing the puck. He’s al­ways been a pass-first-shoot-sec­ond player.

“ I had a few chances right around Christ­mas where I was able to score on a few shots,” he said. “ Be­fore, I al­ways had to score from three feet and in. I was able to beat the goalie on an open shot without a screen and it gives you con­fi­dence, I think.”

Canuck coach Alain Vigneault has also been im­plor­ing Hen­rik to shoot more.

“ But my coaches have been telling me that since I was seven years old,” Hen­rik joked.

His OT win­ner was set up, of course, by brother Daniel, who has 12 points in his last eight games. The play of the Sedin twins and line­mate Alex Bur­rows has been key to Van­cou­ver’s run the last two months.

“ We have played well, but I think over­all dur­ing the sea­son we haven’t had any let­downs, re­ally,” Hen­rik said of he and his brother. “ There have been one or two games where we haven’t scored, but other than that we’ve been pretty steady. We have worked hard and felt good all year.”

The Sedins’ team­mates hope any talk of the twins not pro­duc­ing in big games will now end.

“ They are spe­cial play­ers and they’re prov­ing they are clutch play­ers,” said Ryan Kesler.

“ Ob­vi­ously this past month when we’ve had 15 games to play, they have been our top point-pro­duc­tion guys,” Vigneault added.

“ They have done it at pres­sure mo­ments and that’s good for us with the play­offs around the cor­ner here.” RYP­IEN RE­TURNS: En­ergy for­ward Rick Ryp­ien re­turned from a 70-game ab­sence Tues­day night and skated on the f o u r t h l i n e w i t h D a r c y Hordichuk and Ryan John­son.

Ryp­ien has been out since the fifth game of the sea­son due to sports her­nia surgery, a re­lapse and then a per­sonal leave.

“ It felt good to get the win and be a part of it,” Ryp­ien said. “ The hard­est thing was just ad­just­ing to the speed again and get­ting my tim­ing.”

The Canucks clearly feel that R y p i e n , i f h e c a n r e m a i n healthy, can be an ef­fec­tive player for them in the play­offs. Vigneault par­tic­u­larly likes the grit and tough­ness Ryp­ien brings to the lineup.

“ His speed is def­i­nitely some­thing that we need and the phys­i­cal­ity of fin­ish­ing checks on de­fence­men,” Vigneault said. “ He brings that and he helps us killing penal­ties. We have six more games here, I am not sure he is go­ing to play all of them, but hope­fully we can get him in and get him ready for the play­offs.” MILE­STONE MO­MENT: A goal late in the sec­ond pe­riod that was orig­i­nally cred­ited to Kesler was awarded to Pavol Demi­tra. It was a mile­stone goal, the 300th in the NHL, for Demi­tra.

It came when Demi­tra at­tempted to pass the puck out from be­hind the net to Kesler. It looked like the puck touched Kesler’s stick, but it was ruled that it in­stead bounced off two Wild de­fend­ers be­fore get­ting past Back­strom. Demi­tra will take it. “ It was a lucky one,” Demi­tra said. “ I’m glad be­cause I usu­ally strug­gle with mile­stones. It’s nice to get it over with, es­pe­cially with a huge win.”

ANDY KING/ REUTERS

Canucks winger Daniel Sedin is stopped by Min­nesota goalie Nik­las Back­strom in the third pe­riod Tues­day. Sedin later set up brother Hen­rik’s winning goal in over­time.

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