VANCOUVER – The Wild could have played with an empty net for most of the first period.
Not until nearly 14 minutes had elapsed did the Canucks throw a puck at Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson, this after their first official attempt (which was blocked) clocked in just past the midway point of the period.
"I was just freezing my toes off," Gustavsson said. "I just tried to do some skating drills in the crease to get going."
But that early game of keep-away by the Wild only led to a lopsided shot counter.
They failed to capitalize on their strong start and were subsequently blanked 2-0 on Thursday at Rogers Arena to snap their four-game win streak and suffer their first loss under coach John Hynes.
"The first period was very good, and we didn't get rewarded for it," Hynes said. "Then I thought in the second, we didn't manage the puck well, and then we wound up getting half-iced and I thought that gave them momentum."
Vancouver's Nils Hoglander's seeing-eye shot through traffic with 1 minute, 55 seconds to go in the first was the difference, a goal that felt inevitable after the Wild didn't take advantage of a scrambling beginning by the Canucks.
Gustavsson finished with 15 saves, and Vancouver's Casey DeSmith had 26 stops in his first shutout of the season while improving to 5-0 against the Wild.
Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net on Friday when the Wild are back in action at Edmonton.
"We had a good first period," Wild winger Marcus Johansson said, "and I feel like the rhythm kind of got away a little bit in the second. But that's the way it goes. We're playing good hockey teams."
The Canucks are the highest-scoring lineup in the NHL, so limiting them to 17 shots and two goals was a job well done by the Wild, but this was a missed opportunity by the team's offense.
During their win streak, the Wild outscored the opposition 18-5, but they couldn't get a single puck by DeSmith during a 10-0 run in shots to start the game.
That pressure included two attempts during the Wild's lone power play; their penalty kill went 2-for-2, improving to 15-for-16 in the five games Hynes has been behind the bench.
"That's probably the first game out of the first [five] where we didn't have a lot of clean entries off the rush," Hynes said, "and I think that we are very good forechecking offensive-zone team. We just got to make sure that we're reading the right plays at the offensive blue line to then set our game up like we had in the first."
After Hoglander's goal, the Canucks were much more aggressive in the second period.
Teddy Blueger smacked a shot off the crossbar, and Gustavsson twice denied J.T. Miller in tight on one of Vancouver's power plays. The Wild, meanwhile, managed only four shots — a third of what they racked up in the first.
"This was a game that was dictated that the pucks had to be behind their 'D' because of their gaps and tracks," Hynes said, "and we didn't do a good enough job of it."
Finally, at 2:05 of the third period, Blueger deked the puck around Gustavsson to put the finishing touches on the Canucks' victory.
This was the first time all season the Wild have been shut out, a result that ended winger Mats Zuccarello's point streak at 10 games.
"There's a lot of good lessons out of this game," Hynes said. "The first four games were a little bit different style of games. This is the first time we've seen this style of game against us, and we didn't handle it the right way.
"So, it's a good opportunity to grow."