Harding saves Wild in 2-0 win over Canucks

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 19, 2012
Erik Christensen's power-play goal late in the second period gave Josh Harding and the Minnesota Wild a long-sought win, 2-0 over the suddenly sputtering Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Kyle Brodziak's empty-netter gave the Wild even more to smile about, hearing a rare end-of-the-game roar from their fans after this win over the Northwest Division leader and competitor for the NHL's best record. The Canucks won't get there if they keep playing like this. They're 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Starting a four-game road trip the wrong way, they were shut out for the fourth time this season. The first three of those came in the first 10 games, with the last on Oct. 26. Harding made 33 saves for his second shutout of the season and his first victory since Jan. 21 over Dallas. Christensen got his fourth goal in four games These division rivals usually play rough games, and there was after-the-whistle shoving and jawing in each period. Late in the second, Canucks star Ryan Kesler was called for clipping when he charged at Cal Clutterbuck's legs and sent the Wild right wing tumbling onto his back. After a roughing call on Vancouver's Alex Burrows and a fight between his teammate Kevin Bieksa and Minnesota's Nick Johnson, the Wild finished the middle frame on a power play. Showing crisper puck movement and more aggression than they have in months, they ended a 1 for 23 skid with a much-needed man-advantage goal. Clutterbuck centered a pass to Brodziak, who sent a blind backhand feed from the crease to a late-breaking Christensen from the right circle. He sneaked the puck into the side of the net, grazing goalie Cory Schneider's shoulder area as it went in. Christensen, acquired in a February trade, was with the Wild for 17 games before finally scoring. Now he's got four in the last four games. Harding didn't have to make many tough saves, though he snatched a slap shot by Kesler during Vancouver's only power play with a slick glove save while seated in the butterfly position. After sending rookie Matt Hackett back to the AHL club in Houston in the morning, the Wild had primary goalie Niklas Backstrom available on the bench for the first time in eight games, his groin injury finally healed enough for competition. Harding got the start, his first in four games since hurting his lower body and being pulled from the game in Phoenix on March 8. An unrestricted free agent this summer, Harding was 0-4-1 in his previous five decisions. The Wild played well enough to give Harding a bigger padding, but they familiarly weren't finishing at the net or rewarding themselves more for their revived attack. They outshot the Canucks 27-15 during a stretch from the middle of the first period until the second intermission. Only four times in their previous 20 games did the Wild manage 30 or more shots on goal. Schneider fell to 9-2-1 in his last 12 games since Christmas. NOTES: Struggling Canucks LW Mason Raymond, who has only eight goals and eight assists this season, was a surprise healthy scratch for the first time this season. He missed the first 25 games because of a back injury. ... Brodziak notched his 20th assist and has a new career high with 39 points. Clutterbuck has points in consecutive games for the first time in three months.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Matt Forte confirms he won’t be returning to Bears

Cardinals GM: ‘No doubt’ team wants Mathieu as fixture

Charles Barkley on Stephen Curry: ‘He’s just a great shooter’

Louisiana governor warns that LSU football could be cut

Report: People with Warriors think they will get Durant

Joe Thomas: It’s a ‘sad end’ to Manziel story in Cleveland

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

26% of Denver students skipped school for Broncos parade

Eight surprises, letdowns entering NBA All-Star break

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker