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03/11/2013 12:07 AM EDT
Parise scores 2 goals and Wild top Canucks 4-2
MINNESOTA 4, VANCOUVER 2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Zach Parise cautioned against reading too
much into the Minnesota Wild's 4-2 win over the Vancouver
Canucks on Sunday night.



The Wild moved into a first-place tie with their Northwest
Division rivals, recorded their fifth straight game with a
point, and led for all but 24 seconds. But Parise didn't bite
when asked if it was a statement game.



"It's hard to look at the standings all the time with just the
way it goes, you go overnight from fourth to 12th," Parise said
after scoring two goals and adding an assist for his 25th NHL
three-point game.



After 24 games marked by inconsistency and slow starts, the Wild
still have a lot to prove before they are viewed as a serious
playoff contender.



"We're only halfway through, but I think it shows the way we've
been playing a lot better lately and with a little more
consistency," Parise said. "Season doesn't end today, playoffs
don't start tomorrow, but just for us to get up top ... now
we've got to respond and try to stay up there."



Niklas Backstrom had 25 saves, and Jason Zucker and Jared
Spurgeon also scored for the Wild, who won their fourth straight
home game and beat the Canucks for the first time this season.



"Our guys were ready for this one, for sure," Wild coach Mike
Yeo said. "We feel like we're a team that's on the up and going
in the right direction, and we were looking forward to this
chance."



Cory Schneider made 28 saves, and Henrik Sedin and Chris Higgins
scored for the Canucks, who fell to 1-3-2 in their past six
games.



"It's tough right now, we're being tested and that's why we need
each and every guy in here to pull along," Daniel Sedin said.



Vancouver came up empty in four power-plays and hasn't scored a
goal in its last 20 advantages. Daniel Sedin said it falls on
him and his brother to get the power play back on track.



"We're leaders on this team, and this is the game I think we
could've gotten ourselves back into it if our power play's
getting off," he said. "We're two guys, we can make that
happen."



Despite struggling with slow starts all season, Minnesota needed
only 24 seconds to take the lead when Parise kicked off a
contentious first period with his 10th goal. It was Minnesota's
first opening-period goal in three games against Vancouver.



Things got testy with a slew of roughing, fighting and
unsportsmanlike conduct calls midway through the period. Eight
players were in the penalty box at the same time.



Cal Clutterbuck had to be restrained in the box when he saw Alex
Burrows tale a few swings at Wild captain Mikko Koivu - over the
head of the referee, who was separating them.



A minute later, Mike Rupp flipped Tom Sestito's helmet to the
ice before throwing him down as the two fought.



"Guys are sticking up for each other," Yeo said. "It's sort of
that pack-of-wolves mentality that I really believe that this
group has right now."



Minnesota ended up killing two consecutive power plays and went
up 2-0 when Matt Cullen slipped a pretty pass to Zucker in front
of the net at 18:31. Spurgeon's second-period goal made it 3-0
before Higgins' one-timer from the right circle found its way
through Backstrom's pads to make it 3-1 at 7:51.



The Canucks pulled to 3-2 early in the third when the puck was
deflected into the air and hit off Henrik Sedin's leg into the
net, but Parise added his second goal when he put the puck
between Schneider's skate and the post at 6:29.



"No we're not happy about it," Schneider said about the Wild
moving into a first-place tie. "You don't want to be chasing
teams late in the year, but we can't panic. It's not time to
panic yet. It is time to get some urgency and win hockey games."



Notes: Minnesota has a power-play goal in a season-high four
straight games, and six of seven. ... Ryan Suter has a Wild
season-best, seven-game point streak. ... D Tom Gilbert
(illness) missed his first game with the Wild. ... Minnesota is
9-2-1 at home.

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