Heatley error stings Wild in overtime loss at Vancouver

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2011 - 1:42 AM

Despite the Canucks' come-from-behind victory, Wild coach Mike Yeo saw plenty of positives in the way his team played.


Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider made a save as the Wild's Pierre-Marc Bouchard was tripped up by the Canucks' Andrew Alberts, not pictured, on Saturday.

Photo: Darryl Dyck, Associated Press - Ap

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VANCOUVER - One game after Dany Heatley's dramatic buzzer-beater turned a potential zero points into an eventual two in Edmonton, the Wild forward turned into Paul Bunyan and tomahawked a possible extra point out of the Wild's hands.

Like he was chopping wood in northern Minnesota, Heatley snapped Ryan Kesler's stick like a twig 130 feet from his net late in overtime Saturday.

The Vancouver Canucks scored on the ensuing power play, and the Wild was left stinging with a 3-2 overtime loss and an eighth consecutive defeat at Rogers Arena.

"Not a smart play. That's really all there is to say," Heatley said of his slash. "You never know if the stick's going to break or not. ... But still, I can't put myself in that spot."

Heatley sat in the penalty box as defenseman Sami Salo fired a bullet through Marco Scandella's screen and past Niklas Backstrom with 20.8 seconds left.

Still, coach Mike Yeo wouldn't pin any blame on Heatley, especially when it was Heatley's tally with 1.2 seconds left in regulation against the Oilers that allowed the Wild to finish the road trip with three out of a possible four points in the first place.

Instead, Yeo stressed the positives, calling the road trip and particularly Saturday's effort something to build upon as the team sits idle until Thursday at home against Anaheim.

"I'm not happy to lose. I'm not. I hate losing," Yeo said. "But I thought we did enough good things to win this game. The work ethic, there was another level. There was another level in the battle level. There was another level in our urgency."

In the first period, the Wild arguably put forth its best period in terms of playing Yeo's system, especially in the defensive zone, where the Wild limited the defending Western Conference champs to four shots.

Devin Setoguchi's backhander off a neat give-and-go with Heatley allowed the Wild to carry a 1-0 lead into the second. The Wild had been outscored 7-0 in the past four first periods at Rogers and last held a lead five visits prior -- Oct. 17, 2009.

The Canucks picked up its play in the second, thanks to a pair of Brad Staubitz penalties.

On the first penalty kill, Mikko Koivu broke his stick, and the Canucks spent the next minute buzzing against a stickless Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck and defensemen Clayton Stoner and Justin Falk. Backstrom made four saves.

The Wild cleared the zone, but with Stoner and Falk trapped, Aaron Volpatti took an offensive-zone penalty. Cory Schneider came up large on the power play -- twice denying Setoguchi and once Heatley.

But Staubitz, who turned the momentum in the first place, took a tripping penalty on his first shift out of the box, and Daniel Sedin tied it at 1-1.

With the Canucks pressuring, Kyle Brodziak stopped the bleeding with the go-ahead goal on a great setup by Nick Johnson.

Johnson, the forward scratched the previous four games because of Staubitz's return from a league suspension, flew into the zone, hit the brakes and lost Keith Ballard behind the net.

"He even drew a second guy, which was the really important thing. Unbelievable," Brodziak said.

But early in the third, Jannik Hansen deflected Manny Malhotra's shot for the tying goal. The Wild spent the rest of the period defending before securing a point.

Still, Yeo saw the positives.

"They needed to knock one out of the air to score the tying goal, and they needed a penalty in overtime to beat us," Yeo said.

Added Brodziak, "It definitely could have been a different fate."

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