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02/08/2013 1:31 AM EST
Schneider sharp as Canucks surge past Wild 4-1
VANCOUVER 4, MINNESOTA 1

By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Sports Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Cory Schneider's emergence in goal for
Vancouver has raised questions about whether stalwart Roberto
Luongo will soon be traded.



For now, the Canucks can sure put both of them to good use.



Schneider made 22 saves and Mason Raymond had a power-play goal
and an assist in the second period to lead Vancouver past the
sputtering Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Thursday night, the fourth
straight win for the Canucks.



"That's what he's always done for us. He's always come in in
these situations in the past," said coach Alain Vigneault, who
gave Schneider his first action in 11 days.



Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen also had goals for
the Canucks. Tom Gilbert spoiled the shutout on a power-play
slap shot with 12:35 left for the Wild. Luongo has the league's
third-best goals-against average and played the last four games,
but he has struggled at Minnesota in recent years. So Schneider
got the assignment.



"It's great knowing there's another guy who can go in there and
put up those kind of numbers, and it just motivates you to be
that good and chase him," Schneider said. "I've been doing it
for a couple years now, and I think the team enjoys that, just
knowing whoever's in the net we can win."



Niklas Backstrom gave up two scores in each of the first two
periods for the Wild, and Josh Harding was in the net for the
final frame. But they could only wish their problems were
limited to the net.



"We definitely need these points and, yeah, it's tough to come
back in this league, especially when you're down a couple
goals," Gilbert said. "You start pressing a little bit. I just
don't think we got to our game right away, and we let them
dictate the way they wanted to play the game."



After scoring four times in their season opener, the Wild had
only 16 goals over their previous eight games. Schneider had a
big hand -- and stick -- in extending the slide.



"Would have been a good chance for us to bounce back after not
winning on the road trip, but we didn't show up," said Zach
Parise, who had eight shots. "Pretty simple."



Winless in four road games this season, the Wild returned with
yet another new menu of forward groups as coach Mike Yeo
continues to try to coax more production from this deep offense.
Rookie Charlie Coyle was on the first line for his first NHL
home game with Parise and Mikko Koivu, and slumping Dany Heatley
was down on the second trio with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc
Bouchard.



"The more you press, the more you squeeze your stick, the cuter
you try to get, the more you try to force things, all the things
that it takes to score goals, believe it or not you start to
hurt yourself," Yeo said.



The home crowd, starting to wonder when or if this renovated
team is going to play up to the potential created by the summer
signings of Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, let out a few boos
as the Wild left the ice at the first intermission. They got
louder after the second period and more pronounced at the final
horn.



"It's not fun right now. Things aren't going well," Suter said.



After allowing five goals on 14 shots in the season opener,
Schneider put himself back on track. He was sharp whenever the
Wild got close.



Coyle and Koivu made consecutive crisp passes from the corner to
the circle to set up Parise on the edge of the opposite circle,
but Schneider was there to knock the puck out of harm's way. The
Wild put more pressure on Schneider in the second period, but
they fumbled away whatever momentum they had wrestled away.



With Backstrom sprawled out after making a diving save,
defenseman Clayton Stoner cleared the puck -- right to Raymond's
stick. He wound up for the easy goal, like he was playing a
pinball machine. Less than two minutes later, Raymond set up
Hansen for a breakaway to make it 4-0.



"When we broke down, Cory was there to make some big saves. But
that start was huge, and we were able to ride that wave," said
Alex Burrows, who had an assist.



Notes: Jordan Schroeder, a 2009 first-round draft pick by the
Canucks out of the University of Minnesota, played his first NHL
game in his home state. He attended high school at St. Thomas
Academy in the St. Paul suburb of Mendota Heights, where the
Canucks happened to practice Wednesday. ... Sedin has 53 points
in 65 career games against the Wild. ... Zenon Konopka had 22
penalty minutes for the Wild, including two fights. He was
whistled for instigating the second one and then ejected with a
game misconduct call as he yelled and pointed at Dale Weise when
they were in the box.

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