Minnesota Wild right wing Ryan Hartman, left, tries to hit the puck past Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko, centre, and Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 24, 2022, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

Eriksson Ek scores in overtime, Wild beat Vancouver Canucks 3-2

B.C. squad has dropped six of last eight games

Joel Eriksson Ek scored 31 seconds into overtime, Cam Talbot made 26 saves and the Minnesota Wild kept rolling with a 3-2 win against the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist, and Kevin Fiala also scored for Minnesota, which has won four in a row and is 6-1-1 in its last eight games. Talbot has won his past seven starts.

The Wild (80 points) moved one point ahead of St. Louis for second place in the Central Division after the Blues lost at home to Philadelphia.

Bo Horvat scored his 25th goal and J.T. Miller added his 27th for Vancouver. Miller had a shot ring off the post in overtime right before Eriksson Ek’s game-winner.

Thatcher Demko, who has played in 20 of the past 21 games, stopped 33 shots for the Canucks. Vancouver has lost six of eight and was coming off a 3-1 win in Colorado the previous night.

Minnesota bolstered its roster at Monday’s trade deadline, with the most notable acquisition being three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury from Chicago. Talbot had a spell of five straight games allowing at least four goals, which led general manager Bill Guerin to consider his need for help in net.

Talbot recovered from his slump and the Wild now have a tandem to turn to in the playoffs. Talbot has allowed five total goals in starting four straight games, including a 28-save shutout of Vegas on the same day Minnesota acquired Fleury.

Horvat put the Canucks on the board early thanks to a fortunate bounce.

Talbot made a sprawling save on Brock Boeser. Oliver Ekman-Larsson sent the puck along the boards and it hit Wild defenseman Jake Middleton, ricocheting out to center where Horvat was all alone in front for a quick goal.

Horvat has 11 goals and six assists in his last 16 games.

Kaprizov answered before the end of the first period with his 33rd goal of the season, taking advantage of a turnover to keep the puck in the Minnesota offensive zone.

It was the 60th goal of the sophomore’s NHL career in his 116th game. According to NHL Stats, only one active player, Alex Ovechkin (95 games) needed fewer to reach the mark.

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Fiala gave the Wild the lead just 1:44 into the second when a faceoff to the right of Demko went straight back to the netminder. Demko kicked the puck aside, but it went right to Fiala, who spun around and scored.

Miller tied the game with 7:56 remaining in the third with a big shot past Talbot six seconds into a power play.


Canucks: Play at Dallas on Saturday.

Wild: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.


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