Mike Yeo had indicated there were signs on tape that the floodgates were ready to open, but nobody could have anticipated the deluge of pucks busting through the Vancouver Canucks’ net Tuesday night.
Ryan Miller earned his paycheck, but the same couldn’t be said for the 18 Canucks teammates who victimized their poor goaltender during a 6-2 rout at Xcel Energy Center.
What was a miserable night for the Canucks made for a blissful night for the Wild as it extended its monthlong point streak to eight games (5-0-3).
“It kind of got boring. That’s not our style of play,” joked defenseman Ryan Suter of the goal eruption.
From the opening faceoff, the Wild was three steps ahead of the flat-footed Canucks, who seemed stunned by the Wild’s speed. The Wild, which had scored 10 goals in the previous six games, was first on every puck and put on a passing and shooting clinic the first 40 minutes.
By the end of two periods, the Wild already had a season-high six goals. Thomas Vanek, goalless and pointless in the previous six games, already had his first four-point game with the Wild, captain Mikko Koivu already notched his fourth career four-point night and first in almost five years, and Zach Parise, who scored a goal and two assists, already had eight shots.
Jason Zucker, goalless and pointless in the last 10 games, also scored a goal, as did Suter and Marco Scandella, who lost his father recently and pointed to the sky afterward. The Wild scored three power-play goals and Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves to improve to 3-0-2 in the past five games.
The Wild, which scored four goals and fired a season-high 19 shots in the second period, has allowed seven goals in the past seven games, four in regulation.
“We’ve been defending well, guys were buying in defensively. It was bound to happen,” Suter said of the breakout.
Yeo hinted Tuesday morning it was coming. How’d he know?
“Our play without the puck has been better and because of that we’ve had the puck a lot more,” Yeo said. “I liked the way we played the game. I like the way we finished it. I like the way we played for 60 minutes.”
Parise said the Wild was determined to begin a stretch of six games out of seven at home with a solid start. The Wild was all over the Canucks and generated heaps of scoring chances. The Wild led 2-0 after one. Only Miller kept it from being 5-0 or 6-0.
Charlie Coyle, who had a solid game, drew two power plays that resulted in Vanek’s game-opening goal and Parise’s eventual winner. Parise took three swats at the net, each time his angle getting worse and worse. He finally scored from behind the goal line.
Jannik Hansen of the Canucks made it 3-1, but less than two minutes later, Vanek was first in on a forecheck to set up Koivu’s 150th career goal. That stopped any Vancouver momentum.
“You always want to get back at it as soon as possible,” Koivu said.
Canucks coach Willie Desjardins finally gave Miller the sympathy hook after six goals for Jacob Markstrom.
It was way too late as even Wild fans showed pity with halfhearted MIL-LER chants in the one-sided second period.
“I can’t judge the guys and I can’t sit there and try and coach,” Miller said.
“My job is to battle and I didn’t solve enough of the problems tonight.”
After so many tight games lately, it was a fun night for the Wild with so much open ice and so many scoring chances.
“Hopefully everyone feels good about the offensive side now and we can continue to pop a couple more in,” Parise said.