The Vancouver star broke a tie early in the second period with
his team-leading seventh goal to help the Canucks beat the Wild 3-1
on Tuesday night for their sixth straight victory.
The Canucks are 8-1-1, matching the best record after 10 games
in team history. Their only regulation loss was Oct. 12 when
Minnesota won 6-0 in St. Paul.
Naslund, who had five shots on goal in the second period, gave
the Canucks a 2-1 lead, taking a pass from Todd Bertuzzi on a
2-on-1 break and banking a low shot off Fernandez's right arm.
"He didn't give me much to shoot at, but somehow it got in,"
Jarkko Ruutu and Henrik Sedin also scored for the Canucks, and
Alex Auld made 27 saves to improve to 3-0-0. Alexandre Daigle
scored for Minnesota, which played without forwards Marian Gaborik
and Pascal Dupuis and defenseman Filip Kuba.
"Minnesota has a lot of injuries, and tonight we caught them at
the right time, when they probably would've liked to have a few of
those guys back," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "But that's
Ruutu scored his first goal of the season midway through the
first period, sweeping in a loose puck after Sami Salo's shot from
the point hit traffic in front of the Minnesota net.
Minnesota tied it on a power play late in the first when Daigle
beat Auld with a rising shot from the right circle. The Wild, who
entered the game with the league's second-best power play numbers,
went just 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Minnesota killed seven of
Vancouver's eight power plays, but felt the abundance of
special-teams play limited what it could do offensively.
"You use all your energy killing penalties instead of creating
things offensively," Wild center Marc Chouinard said. "It makes a
big difference at the end of the game."
Minnesota was called for 10 penalties.
"The guys played good," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "The only
thing I was not pleased with was the penalties. We have to stay out
of the box, but it's so hard."
Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined to give the Canucks some
breathing room midway through the second period. Henrik redirected
a shot by Daniel past Fernandez on a power play to give Vancouver a
3-1 lead. Fernandez stopped 33 shots in his first regulation loss
of the season.
"Tonight a thought we played a really strong game," Crawford
said. "Fernandez got to a lot of loose pucks, otherwise I thought
we were really close to breaking this one open."
Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell, who will
serve in the same role with the U.S. Olympic team, attended the
game, taking a closer look at Minnesota's Brian Rolston and
Vancouver's Richard Park and Ryan Kesler. All three attended the
team's orientation camp in early September. ... Canucks defenseman
Ed Jovanovski played his 400th game for Vancouver.