Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 3/20/12
ST. PAUL, Minn. Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo approached the podium for the postgame press conference and offered a wry smile. There was no holding back the pleasure he got from watching his team snap a three-game losing streak two days and one game after saying his team was "in hell." There have been precious few opportunities the past two months for Yeo to gloat about the work his team has done in a game. He wasn't going to let the chance slip by Monday after the Wild beat the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks 2-0. "We talked at length yesterday about how to prepare," Yeo said. "I really believe that a lot of games are won or lost actually before the game begins. And I felt like this was a game, obviously we didn't win the game before the puck was dropped, but we put ourselves in a position to." Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding made 33 saves for his sixth career shutout. Erik Christensen scored for the fourth time in as many games and Kyle Brodziak added an empty-net tally for his 19th goal of the season as the Wild (30-32-10) snapped a five-game losing streak at home. Cory Schneider made 33 saves in goal for Vancouver (43-21-8), which is second in the Western Conference standings. The Wild had lost eight of their last nine games before Monday, but snapped a three-game skid against the Canucks and scored first in a game for just the second time in the past 13 contests. Yeo said Saturday's 5-3 loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes was unacceptable and prompted a team discussion Sunday. "We talked," Yeo said. "And they did a lot of the talking as well, as far as how you win and what it means to be a winner. You don't just win and then you're a winner. You do things that winners do. The guys did a great job of that, and a huge part of that is the way you prepare." Christensen scored a power-play goal late in the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead, which held until Brodziak's length of the ice score with just three seconds left while Vancouver pressured with the extra attacker. Christensen went without a point his first 15 games in a Minnesota sweater before notching two goals a week ago against Calgary. Yeo said he felt Christensen would start finding the net with regularity once he got his first goal with the Wild. He's now scored in three of the past four games and has four goals during that span. "I'm just starting to figure it out and get comfortable finally," Christensen said. "I'm shooting the puck a lot more, that's the big thing. I've got a good shot and I want to use it. I'm the kind of guy who once I start to feel it, the puck can kind of follow me around a little bit. Hopefully it keeps going like that." With Christensen providing the scoring, Harding was able to do the rest. Following his last win on Jan. 21, Harding surrendered 23 goals in his next six games. He was 0-4-1 in his last five decisions and was 1-4 with a 3.13 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in six previous games against Vancouver. Harding had also missed three games since leaving the March 8 game early with a lower-body injury when he had stopped all 24 shots he faced against Phoenix. "I thought I played good there," Harding said. "If you go back, I didn't think I played that bad against Montreal either. Obviously the Detroit game was probably not the best game. Other than that, I'm just taking it game-by-game whenever I can get in there and trying to give the team a chance to win." A couple of early saves might have been an indication Monday was going to be different for Harding and the rest of the team. "Hards was outstanding," Yeo said. "Do I need to say more than that? He was great. How important goaltending is, they get a chance like two minutes into the game, a great rush chance. And he not only saves it, he sends a message to the rest of the group that he's ready to go and that breeds confidence." And with some confidence, the Wild gave their coach something to smile about Monday. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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