Eriksson Ek scores in overtime, Wild beat Canucks 3-2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek scored 31 seconds into overtime, Cam Talbot made 26 saves and the Minnesota Wild kept rolling with a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist and Kevin Fiala also scored for Minnesota, which has won four in a row and is 6-1-1 in its last eight games. Talbot has won his past seven starts.

The Wild (80 points) moved one point ahead of St. Louis for second place in the Central Division after the Blues lost at home to Philadelphia.

“It’s kind of hard when you get that much time,” Eriksson Ek said of his breakaway in overtime. “A lot of thinking goes through your head what you’re going to do. I mean, I’ve seen (Mats Zuccarello) do that move a lot of times, just trying to be like him for that one.”

Bo Horvat scored his 25th goal and J.T. Miller added his 27th for Vancouver. Miller had a shot ring off the post in overtime right before Eriksson Ek’s game-winner.

Thatcher Demko, who has played in 20 of the past 21 games, stopped 33 shots for the Canucks. Vancouver was coming off a 3-1 win in Colorado the previous night.

“To come back in the third period, we didn’t have a lot left in the tank,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When you go into overtime, anything can happen. We hit the post, they come down and score. Obviously at this stage of the season, you need those other points, but I can’t be unhappy with the fact that we got one point.”

Minnesota bolstered its roster at Monday’s trade deadline, with the most notable acquisition being three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury from Chicago. Talbot had a spell of five straight games allowing at least four goals, which led general manager Bill Guerin to consider his need for help in net.

Talbot recovered from his slump and the Wild now have a tandem to turn to in the playoffs. Talbot has allowed five total goals in starting four straight games, including a 28-save shutout of Vegas on the same day Minnesota acquired Fleury.

“Everybody is talking about Fleury, and Cam has just done what he’s always done,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Prior to when Marc-Andre got here, he started that before this has all happened and he’s just continued that.”

Horvat put the Canucks on the board early thanks to a fortunate bounce.

Talbot made a sprawling save on Brock Boeser. Oliver Ekman-Larsson sent the puck along the boards and it hit Wild defenseman Jake Middleton, ricocheting out to center where Horvat was all alone in front for a quick goal.

Horvat has 11 goals and six assists in his last 16 games.

“It wasn’t an easy travel day,” Horvat said. “We didn’t get in until super late and get back and play against a team like that who is sitting there waiting for you. I thought we did a great job in the first five minutes.”

Kaprizov answered before the end of the first period with his 33rd goal of the season, taking advantage of a turnover to keep the puck in the Minnesota offensive zone.

It was the 60th goal of the sophomore’s NHL career in his 116th game. According to NHL Stats, only one active player, Alex Ovechkin (95 games) needed fewer to reach the mark.

Fiala gave the Wild the lead just 1:44 into the second when a faceoff to the right of Demko went straight back to the netminder. Demko kicked the puck aside, but it went right to Fiala, who spun around and scored.

Miller tied the game with 7:56 remaining in the third with a big shot past Talbot six seconds into a power play.


Kaprizov is having one of the best seasons in Wild history. His 33 goals tie him with Zach Parise and Jason Zucker for the fifth-most in franchise history. Marian Gaborik and Eric Staal share the record with 42-goal seasons. Gaborik had a 38-goal campaign and Brian Rolston is fourth with 34 goals.

Kaprizov has 78 points. It’s the third-highest season total for the Wild, behind only Gaborik’s 83 in 2007-08 and Rolston’s 79 in 2005-06.


Canucks: Play at Dallas on Saturday.

Wild: Evason said Fleury will make his first Minnesota start Saturday when the team hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets.


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