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Torres, Vancouver power play helps Canucks to sixth straight win, 4-2 over Wild

VANCOUVER — Raffi Torres provided a quick start and the power play didthe rest Monday as the streaking Vancouver Canucks defeated theMinnesota Wild 4-2 for their sixth straight win.

VANCOUVER — Raffi Torres provided a quick start and the power play did the rest Monday as the streaking Vancouver Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 for their sixth straight win.

Torres scored on the Canucks' second shot of the game while Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler had power-play goals to stake Vancouver to a 3-0 lead.

Kesler scored his career-high 36th goal of the season into an empty net with 3.4 seconds remaining.

It was Vancouver's first home game after sweeping a five-game road trip.

Andrew Brunette ended Minnesota's goal drought at two hours, 37 minutes and seven seconds by beating netminder Roberto Luongo late in the second period.

Mikko Koivu also scored for the Wild, coming into Vancouver after a pair of 4-0 losses.

The Canucks improved to 46-16-9 and hit the 100-point plateau faster than any other season in club history.

Vancouver is 10 points clear of Philadelphia for the over-all NHL lead and 11 points ahead of Detroit for top spot in the Western Conference.

The Wild lost their third consecutive game to drop to 35-28-7 and remain four points out of a playoff spot in the tightly contested West.

It was also Minnesota's sixth straight loss at Rogers Arena.

Vancouver's victory didn't come without a price. Defenceman Sami Salo suffered an undisclosed injury and did not return after being hit by a Kyle Brodziak shot late in the first period.

The oft-injured Salo missed the first 55 games of the campaign after severing an Achilles tendon playing floorball during off-season conditioning in his native Finland.

The Canucks didn't rest on their road trip success, with Torres scoring on his first shift of the game.

He took Manny Malhotra's pass at the Wild blue-line and ripped a shot from the top of the left face-off circle past the blocker of netminder Niklas Backstrom.

Sedin and Kesler's goals gave the Canucks' potent power play eight goals in its past 15 man advantage situations.

Both goals came with Minnesota defenceman Clayton Stoner in the penalty box in his first game back from a groin injury.

Stoner had barely sat down when Sedin scored his sixth goal in six games and 38th of the season, also shooting from the left face-off circle.

Kesler, who screened Backstrom for Sedin, backhanded home a rebound.

The first power-play goal took six seconds, the second 69 after a puck control exhibition by Vancouver.

The goal-starved Wild had early chances but were stifled by Luongo.

He foiled Martin Havlat's first-minute break-in, turned aside a Brodziak deflection, was quick to cover a goalmouth scramble and stuck out a pad to beat Brent Burns' rebound attempt.

In the second period, he helped the Canucks stave off three consecutive penalties, including a one minute 29-second two-man advantage.

Brunette finally got to Luongo late in the period when he tipped in Mikko Koivu's centring pass after defender Keith Ballard failed to control the puck along the end boards.

Koivu drew the Wild to within a goal early in the third period when he backhanded home Brunette's rebound after Luongo made the initial save.

Koivu returned to the Wild lineup after missing 11 games with a broken finger. Also back was Cal Clutterbuck, sidelined five games by an upper body injury.

NOTES: Forward Chris Higgins, acquired at the trade deadline, made his home debut as a Canuck in his 400th NHL game ... he previously appeared here as a Florida Panther, Calgary Flame, Montreal Canadien and a New York Ranger ... rugged Harold Snepsts, who played 12 years on the Vancouver blue-line, was inducted into the club's ring of honour as part of the Canucks' 40th anniversary celebrations ... goalie Josh Harding, who suffered torn right knee ligaments in a pre-season game, skated with the Wild in the morning.

 
 
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