VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves and the Minnesota Wild took sole possession of the Northwest Division lead with a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
"I thought (Backstrom) was outstanding tonight," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
With realignment in store next season, Monday night's game will be the last divisional matchup between the Wild and Canucks. Making the win even more sweet, the Wild hadn't won in Vancouver in more than four years.
"It's first time we've won and the first time we've got three in a row this year," Yeo said. "Plus on top of that, we played a team that was ready to play tonight."
Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo made his fourth straight start despite being in net for Vancouver's 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Luongo finished with 22 saves.
The Wild, who moved two points ahead of Vancouver for the division lead, have won eight of their last 11 games.
"It's fun to be on the bench and listen to the guys talk and say the things that they are saying," said Yeo. "It's a good focus right now."
Charlie Coyle scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, while Jonas Brodin got the Wild on the board in the second period. Coyle and Brodin are two young guys who played very well in a very imporant game.
"They are on our team for a reason," Yeo said. "Brodin, not just the goal he got, but how about his play in the third period, helping us preserve the lead? Charlie helps us in so many little aspects of the game as well."
Matt Cullen scored the go-ahead goal in the third period on a nifty pass from Devin Setoguchi. The Wild trailed in shots on goal, but came out strong in the third period, something that impressed their coach.
"I really felt that when things mattered most, especially in that third period, we able to bring (our play) to a new level," Yeo said.
Henrik Sedin scored the lone goal for Vancouver as the Canucks suffered their second straight loss and 11th in 16 games.
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