Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mikael Granlund gets first hat trick, Wild beat Canucks 6-3

 Mikael Granlund had family in attendance for his first career hat trick. In fact, his brother Markus had a stellar view of the whole thing.
Mikael Granlund got three goals against his younger brother's team, helping the Minnesota Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 on Saturday night.
Granlund has the longest point streak of the season at 12 games, and on Saturday, he eclipsed his previous career highs in goals and points. He has 15 goals and 33 assists, and he's a big reason why the Wild sit atop the Western Conference standings with a 34-12-5 record.
"Well, a hat trick really doesn't happen too often," Mikael Granlund said. "I don't even remember if I've ever done that, so obviously it's fun, but I'm even more glad we got the win and we are on right path again."
As for playing against his kid brother, it obviously wasn't much of a distraction.
"I really try not to think about that," he said. "I think about it as a normal game, but obviously you know he is out there."
Mikko KoivuZach Parise and Mike Reilly also scored for the Western Conference-leading Wild, who bounced back after a 5-1 loss in Calgary on Wednesday. Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves.
Brandon Sutter had two goals and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks, who have lost three straight heading into a six-game road swing. Vancouver is five points back of the Flames for the final wild-card spot in the West.
Canucks goalie Ryan Miller made 33 saves.
In a tight-checking first period, the Wild broke through at 13:01 when Reilly blasted a shot from the faceoff circle that eluded Miller. It was Reilly's first of the season.
Jannik Hansen helped the Canucks respond by driving into the slot with three defenders on him before Sutter grabbed the loose puck and swatted it in. It was the first game back for Hansen, who had missed 17 games with a knee injury.
"It's a long time to sit out and be out of game action," Hansen said. "It's going to take a little bit."
With 24 seconds to go in the period, Mikael Granlund was left alone at the side of the Canucks' net and banged in an easy rebound to make it 2-1.
The Canucks had a power-play chance in the second, but just 11 seconds into the man advantage, Mikael Granlund stole the puck and wheeled down the ice to beat Miller short-handed.
Horvat cut the lead when he ripped a shot over Dubnyk's shoulder off a 2-on-1 to make it 3-2 at 8:36.
Parise tipped Jared Spurgeon's shot from the point 54 seconds later to restore the two-goal lead.
Before the second intermission, Mikael Granlund dished to Koivu for his 16th of the season, then Sutter smacked a rebound out of the air while on the power play for his second of the night to make it 5-3.
Mikael Granlund completed his hat trick midway through the third when Canucks defenseman Philip Larsen made an ill-fated clearing attempt in front of the net and it found its way back into Vancouver's goal.
"He's a pretty special player," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I've only seen him for 51 games. I don't know where he was in the past. I know he was a good player in the past, but his numbers weren't quit what they are now. Boy he can make plays. He skates, he defends. I can't say enough about him."
NOTES: The Canucks held a pre-game ceremony to honor captain Henrik Sedin and his recent 1,000th NHL point. ... Wild forward Alex Tuch made his NHL debut playing on Minnesota's top line. He was called up Thursday from the AHL.
UP NEXT
Wild: Play at Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Canucks: Play at Nashville on Tuesday night.

No comments: