Final

Minnesota won 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Minnesota won 4-3

Game 1: Friday, April 25th
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OT
Canucks4
Game 2: Sunday, April 27th
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Canucks2
Game 3: Tuesday, April 29th
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Wild2
Game 4: Friday, May 2nd
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OT
Wild2
Game 5: Monday, May 5th
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Canucks2
Game 6: Wednesday, May 7th
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Wild5
Game 7: Thursday, May 8th
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Canucks2

Wild 5

 

9:00 PM ET, May 7, 2003

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
VAN 0 0 11
MIN 0 2 35

D. Roloson (Wild - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: .968

A. Brunette (Wild - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Hendrickson (Wild - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Wild sidestep elimination for fifth time this postseason

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild won't go away, or stop scoring.

 Andrew Brunette
Brunette

Andrew Brunette's two goals led another unlikely outburst by the Wild, who sidestepped elimination for the fifth time this postseason with a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

"We're a resilient bunch," Brunette said.

The Western Conference semifinal series is tied at 3, with a deciding Game 7 set for Thursday in Vancouver.

The winner will face the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the West finals. Both the Canucks and Wild rallied from 3-1 deficits in the first round.

"I like the fact we've been through it once," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said of Game 7. "We have to play a full 60 minutes. Our guys are ready to do that. Better we made a mistake tonight and not tomorrow night."

Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves for Minnesota, who also got goals from Darby Hendrickson, Antti Laaksonen and seldom-used Lubomir Sekeras. Cliff Ronning had three assists, and Marian Gaborik added two as the Wild went 3-for-5 on the power play.

The Wild, who've scored 12 goals the last two games, are an NHL-leading 14-for-55 (25.5 percent) on the man advantage during the postseason.

These rivals have played a very physical series, but the Canucks didn't get away with any rough stuff on Wednesday. They took eight penalties.

"They deserve it," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We look at tapes, too. I know a lot of times we do complain, but when we complain we have something to back it up.

"It's a team that plays aggressively. Maybe they don't respect the power play that much. I don't know what they think."

Crawford was pleased with the effort but not the result.

"The penalties got us in trouble," he said. "We just have to be more determined to kill them off."

Minnesota was a surprise qualifier for the playoffs in its third season. The Wild became just the fourth team in NHL history to win five elimination games in one postseason.

No team has ever overcome two 3-1 series deficits in the same postseason. The Wild trailed Colorado by that number in the first round before winning three straight -- two in Denver.

"If you asked us at the beginning of the series if we could play one game versus Vancouver, winner takes all," Brunette said, "certainly we'd take it."

Hendrickson, Laaksonen and Brunette scored in a third period that turned ugly toward the end. Eight of the game's 15 penalties were called in the final frame.

Ed Jovanovski scored his seventh goal of the playoffs for the Canucks, who have not lost three straight all season.

"You might as well throw the other six games out now," Jovanovski said.

Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier, pulled after giving up six goals in two periods on Monday, fell apart in the final period amid thundering chants of "Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!" from the overflow crowd of 19,350.

Neither team made their goalie available for comment.

"Danny's fine,'' teammate Todd Bertuzzi said. "Danny's a strong individual. He's one of the reason's why we're in the situation that we're in. He's a very confident goalie."

That said, there has to be some doubts creeping in for the Canucks.

"I'm not really worried about them," Brunette said. "We feel good about ourselves, if we do what we need to do. If we run around like we did tonight in the first period, we're not going to do well."

The Canucks, admittedly embarrassed by their effort and the outcome of Monday's 7-2 home loss in Game 5, completely controlled the first period and outshot the Wild 12-4.

Vancouver's defense, led by Brent Sopel, Mattias Ohlund and Jovanovski, blocked dozens of shots and kept Minnesota from getting any quality scoring chances or finding any offensive flow.

Roloson -- 4-4 in the postseason -- was sharp, though, and the Wild looked like a new team in the next period. They didn't quite match the franchise-record five goals they scored in the second period on Monday, but they came close.

With nine seconds left on a power play, Cloutier knocked Gaborik's shot away _ right to Brunette, who didn't get a clean shot off as he fell forward. It still went in, giving Minnesota the lead.

Trevor Linden was whistled for high-sticking later in the period, and Sekeras sent a blistering slap shot high over a screened Cloutier's shoulder with five seconds remaining on the man advantage to make it 2-0.

The Canucks' high-scoring top line of Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison continued its quiet series. Yet they remained confident.

"I still believe that if we play the way we're supposed to, that we're going to beat them," Naslund said.

Game notes
Gaborik leads the league with 17 playoff points. ... The other three teams who have won five or more elimination games in one postseason: the New York Islanders in 1975 and 1987 and Vancouver in 1994. ... Canucks D Sami Salo was scratched with flulike symptoms. ... Laaksonen returned after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. He played every game in franchise history before that. ... Sekeras, scratched 18 times during the regular season, had only eight shots on goal in the first 12 postseason games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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