VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)Kirill Kaprizov scored his 38th and 39th goals of the season to help the Minnesota Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Thursday night for their third straight victory.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for Minnesota to improve to 15-3-2 against the Canucks. The Wild (35-21-6) have points in their last eight games and are 7-0-1 since their last regulation loss Feb. 15.
Kaprizov has eight goals and an assist across this stretch for the Wild.
“He’s consistent, right?” Wild coach Dean Evason said . “Sure, you look at his scoring, he’s consistent but he’s consistent in his work ethic, he’s consistent in his team-first mentality, and obviously he’s got a skill set that allows him to score goals.”
Kaprizov opened the scoring at 44 seconds of the first period with a backdoor tip of Mats Zuccarello’s long shot.
Brock Boeser tied it on a power play with 5:57 left in the period, beating Fleury with a wrist shot from the left side.
Kaprizov struck again at 3:40 of the second, scoring off his own rebound after Thatcher Demko denied his initial breakaway try.
“We didn’t have an answer for No. 97,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said of Kaprizov. “Man, he’s a hell of a player. He was a difference maker.”
Demko stopped 34 shots in his first start at Rogers Arena since suffering a groin injury on Dec. 1.
Minnesota’s Brandon Duhaime and Vancouver’s Kyle Burroughs fought early in the third period.
“He’s a great player – skilled, fast,” Burroughs said of Kaprizov. “He’s got all the attributes to be a star in this league and he already is.
“For us, it’s a letdown that he did what he did tonight. For us on the back end, obviously we’re trying to limit what he does and not let him get those opportunities. But we’ll go back and look at it and see how we can kind of bounce back from it.”
FIRST NATIONS CELEBRATION
Vancouver held its fifth annual First Nations game and celebrated the life of former Canuck Wayne “Gino” Odjick, who died in January at 52.
Players wore special warmup jerseys designed by Odjick’s cousin, artist Jay Odjick, each emblazoned with the enforcer’s name and No. 29 on the back. “Gi-no! Gi-no!” chants were heard several times.
J.T. Miller returned to the Canucks’ lineup after suffering a lower-body injury in Vancouver’s 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. The team said Monday that the 29-year-old center was “week-to-week” with the ailment.
Wild: At Calgary on Saturday night for the first of two straight against the Flames, with the teams set to meet again Tuesday night in Minnesota. Calgary also plays at Dallas on Monday night.
Canucks: Host Toronto on Saturday.
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