The Minnesota Wild get off to a good start and finish strong, but do nothing in between as it falls to the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Dany Heatley broke the franchise record for fastest goal to start a game by cutting across the top of the crease in a two-on-one rush with Mikko Koivu and sliding the puck into the open net 13 seconds into the game.

Devin Setoguchi got the play started by chipping the puck off the boards around a pinching defenseman at the Canuck blue line sending Heatley to the races.

The Wild, in customary fashion, controlled the puck in the Canuck zone for about two minutes, forcing an icing and a timeout, but did not score. The Canucks finally got the puck into the Wild zone and Manny Malhotra redirects a Kevin Bieksa shot past Niklas Backstrom to turn a two-goal lead into three with 12 and a half minutes remaining in the game.

The Wild (25-21-8) put the pressure on the Canucks and got a power play goal from Setoguchi with just over four minutes remaining, but an empty-net goal by Ryan Kesler iced the game.

The Canucks (34-15-5) turned the game in their favor with a one minute and 46 second five-on-three power play. Daniel Sedin banged a rebound into an open net beside Backstrom with 31 seconds before the first penalty would have ended.

The Canucks took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission with a goal in the final minute when Maxim Lapierre knocked a rebound into an open net with Backstrom scrambling on his back. The goal came seconds after the Wild had a rush that ended as Kyle Brodziak was mugged by Sami Salo right in front of the referee.

The lead grew to 3-1 less than a minute into the second period when Henrik Sedin pushed a rebound off his own backdoor one-timer through Backstrom’s stick.

The Canucks completely lost their composure in the final minute when agitator Maxim Lapierre speared Brad Staubitz with 28 seconds remaining.

It did not end with Lapierre, Bieksa then left his class in Vancouver when he punched Heatley in the back of the head after the Wild forward turned away from him. He then took his right glove off and threw it at Cal Clutterbuck while he was locked with Dan Hamhuis.

NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will get plenty of looks at this game and should give those two Canuck players some time off the ice.

The Wild have dropped out of the top eight and fall two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes.

Three Stars

No. 3 – Dany Heatley, The Wild forward scored a goal.

No. 2 – Alexander Edler. The Canucks defenseman recorded an assist.

No. 1 – Daniel Sedin. The Canucks forward scored a goal and had an assist.


Vancouver     2 1 2 – 5

Minnesota     1 0 1 – 2

       First Period – 1, Minnesota, Heatley 18 (Setoguchi), :13. 2, Vancouver, D. Sedin 24 (Edler, Salo), 14:04 (pp). 3, Vancouver, Lapierre 6 (unassisted), 19:18. Penalties – Bitz, Van (goaltender interference), 1:49; Cullen, Min (high sticking), 12:35; Prosser, Min (tripping), 12:49.

       Second Period – 4, Vancouver, H. Sedin 12 (Bitz, D. Sedin), :50. Penalties – Bench, Min (too many men; served by Christensen), 1:45; Raymond, Van (holding the stick), 11:02.

       Third Period – 5, Vancouver, Malhotra 5 (Bieksa, Hansen), 7:32. 6, Minnesota, Setoguchi 11 (Prosser), 15:58 (pp). 7, Vancouver, Kesler 18 (Burrows, Booth), 18:47 (en). Penalties – Clutterbuck, Min, major (fighting), 1:46; Lapierre, Van, major (fighting), 1:46; Rome, Van (holding), 14:09; Lapierre, Van, major (spearing; served by Duco), 19:32; Lapierre, Van, misconduct (game misconduct), 19:32; Bieksa, Van (roughing), 19:41; Bieksa, Van, misconduct (10-minute), 19:41; Hamhuis, Van (roughing), 19:41; Hamhuis, Van, misconduct (10-minute), 19:41; Heatley, Min (roughing), 19:41; Clutterbuck, Min, misconduct (10-minute), 19:41.

       Shots on goal – Vancouver 9-7-4 20. Minnesota 5-9-10 24.

       Goalies – Vancouver, Schneider (22-24). Minnesota, Backstrom (15-19). A – 17,859. Referees – Mike Leggo, Dan O’Rourke. Linesmen – Brian Mach, Andy McElman.