Canucks fall to Wild on Koivu's shootout winner

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Mikko Koivu had to wait just
two days for his chance to make up for a costly mistake.

Koivu scored the only shootout goal Friday night, leading the
Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Two
nights earlier, he watched from the penalty box as Vancouver scored
a power-play goal with 6.1 seconds left to win by the same score.

"It feels good, especially tonight," Koivu said. "We played a
solid game the last game and the end was bad for us."

The ending was a lot better this time as the Wild held Vancouver
to four shots in the third period and three in overtime.

Koivu converted the first shot of the shootout, beating Alex
Auld with deke to his backhand. Canucks captain Markus Naslund hit
the post and Jarkko Ruutu lost the puck on a backhand move before
Manny Fernandez stopped Daniel Sedin to take the valuable extra

"We got a valuable point, too," said coach Marc Crawford,
noting his Canucks still gained ground on idle Edmonton and San
Jose in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western

"You've got to be looking at things this time of the year with
a glass half-full mentality. We played a heck of a game, it was a
close game and the shootout didn't go our way. You take all the
good things we did for a tough, difficult, hard-fought point."

Marc Chouinard scored in regulation and Fernandez made 28 saves
before the shootout for the Wild, who are well out of the playoff
race but took a valuable point away from a Northwest Division rival
for the second time on their three-game road trip.

"It s big," said Fernandez, who also in goal in a win at
Edmonton on Tuesday night. "We showed against Edmonton that we're
not going to be taken lightly."

Anson Carter scored the only regulation goal for Canucks, who
lost for just the second time in six games to fall into seventh
place, one point behind Anaheim.

Like his coach, Carter was focusing on the positives.

Vancouver moved one point ahead of the Oilers and five up on the
ninth-place Sharks, but the Canucks only have seven games
remaining. Edmonton has eight left and San Jose 10.

"You've got to stay positive," Carter said after scoring his
team-leading 31st goal. "Even though we lost, it's still a point
and we need as many as can get."

Fernandez kept it scoreless with several big saves early in the
first period, and Chouinard opened the scoring for Minnesota with a
double-deflection power-play goal midway through the second.

Filip Kuba's point shot was tipped in the high slot by Randy
Robitaille before changing directions again off Chouinard's shin in
the low slot, beating Auld low through the legs.

Fernandez, making his career-high 12th-straight start, came up
with more big saves to keep Minnesota ahead midway through the
second period, stopping Markus Naslund and Anson Carter on
breakaways, and robbing Henrik Sedin from the side of the net.

"They didn't get more than one goal in the first two periods
because of Manny," said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire. "They
could have got a lot more."

Carter finally beat him with 5 minutes left in the second after
Henrik barely kept the play onside for twin brother Daniel, who fed
a perfect cross-ice pass through two defenders for a streaking
Carter to redirect through Fernandez.

Auld finished with 19 saves in regulation and overtime for the
Canucks, but needed a little help from his posts. He got a piece of
Mattias Weinhandl's shot before it rang off the cross bar early in
the second period, but Marian Gaborik beat him cleanly only to hit
the post 5 minutes into the third.

After getting beat by Koivu, Auld got a toe on Brian Rolston's
deke and Gaborik's hit the post in the shootout, but the Canucks
couldn't beat Fernandez at the other end.

"We played better than we did the other night but Manny played
well and I think he was the reason they stole two points from us,"
Carter said.

Game notes
Vancouver plays in Anaheim on Sunday afternoon. ... Rolston
failed to score for the first time in six games, also snapping his
six-game point streak. ... Injured Canucks G Dan Cloutier, D Sami
Salo and D Ed Jovanovski all skated before the team Friday morning
and are scheduled to join the Canucks on a two-game road trip in
California on Sunday and Monday. ... Auld has started 50 of 54
games since Cloutier tore the ACL in his knee on Nov. 20.