Matt Dumba scored his first goal of the season midway through the third period as the Minnesota Wild used a 3-2 victory to spoil the Vancouver Canucks’ NHL home-opener Tuesday night.
Mats Zuccarello and Jonas Brodin also scored for the Wild (5-1-0).
Alex Chiasson, on a power play, and Bo Horvat scored for the Canucks (3-3-1), who saw a two-game win streak snapped.
Goaltender Cam Talbot made 22 saves for Minnesota.
Thatcher Demko stopped 27 shots for Vancouver.
The Canuck home-opener was the first game with full capacity at Rogers Arena in 595 days.
The last time the Canucks played before a full house was in a 5-4 shootout win over the New York Islanders on March 10, 2020, two days before the NHL was put on pause due to COVID-19. The team played without fans in the stands during last year’s shortened season.
Dumba’s goal came after Vancouver’s Brock Boeser had taken a hard shot that went over the top of Minnesota’s net and around the boards. The Wild moved the puck up the ice and Dumba scored off a pass from Rem Pitlick.
Horvat cut the lead to 3-2 at 15:53 after taking a long, lead pass from defenceman Tyler Myers, fighting off the check of a Wild defenceman, and scoring on a backhand.
A Canucks turnover gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead at 2:27 of the second period. Vancouver defenceman Jack Rathbone coughed up the puck at his own blue line. Brodin fired a shot that Demko stopped, but then scored his first of the season on the rebound.
The Wild came close just a few minutes later on a partial breakaway. Kevin Fiala fed Frederick Gaudreau at the front of the net, but Demko made the save.
Vancouver cut the lead to 2-1 on a power play at 10:26. With Nick Bjugstad off for interference, and Marcus Foligno playing without a stick, the Canucks controlled the puck in the Wild end. With five second remaining on the penalty Elias Pettersson sent a slap-pass in front of the net which Chiasson directed past Talbot.
Minnesota came close before the period ended when Pitlick had a breakaway after stepping out of the penalty box but his shot hit the post.
The Wild opened the scoring at 7:41 of the first. Zuccarello got behind the Canuck defence of Tucker Poolman and Quinn Hughes, took a long pass from Joel Eriksson Ek, then beat Demko through the five-hole for his third goal of the season.
The Canucks had the best scoring chance of the period just a few minutes later on a three-on-one breakaway. Boeser unloaded a hard shot off a fed from J.T. Miller but Talbot made the save.
NOTES: Zuccarello’s goal was the first time this season the Wild opened the scoring. … Vancouver returned home from a six-game road trip, their longest of the season. … Eriksson Ek’s assist on the first goal was the 100th point of his career. … Travis Green coached his 296th regular season game leaving him fourth among Canuck coaches. Alain Vigneault leads with 540. … Canuck defenceman Tucker Poolman left the game late in the second period and didn’t return.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
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