Wild down Canucks to snap 8-game skid in Torchetti’s debut

Zach Parise scored his 18th of the season and John Torchetti got his first win as the coach of the Minnesota Wild as they defeated the Vancouver Canucks.

VANCOUVER — Jared Spurgeon had a goal and an assist as the Minnesota Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Monday to snap an eight-game losing streak and make interim head coach John Torchetti a winner in his debut.

Zach Parise, Justin Fontaine, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter also scored for the Wild (24-22-10), who fired Mike Yeo on Saturday following a 4-2 home loss to Boston that left Minnesota with just one victory in its last 14 games.

Erik Haula and Ryan Suter each added two assists, and Devan Dubnyk finished with 24 saves to snap an ugly 0-6-2 run.

Henrik Sedin, with a goal and an assist, and Christopher Tanev replied for the Canucks (22-22-12), who have lost two in a row after back-to-back road wins that gave them life in the playoff hunt. Jacob Markstrom stopped 29 shots in the loss.

The Wild were 22-11-8 and owned the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference when they beat the Stars in Dallas on Jan. 9, but then went into a free fall that cost Yeo his job.

Up 2-1 after a period, Minnesota added to its lead 2:12 into the second when Haula jumped on a Vancouver turnover and fed a wide-open Fontaine, who outwaited a helpless Markstrom for his fourth goal of the season.

Sedin got that one back when he banked a shot off Dubnyk’s stick and in on a power play from below the goal-line for his 10th to snap a 20-game drought at 10:17.


But a penalty to Bo Horvat negated another Vancouver power play with the Canucks coming on, and Coyle scored his 16th once Minnesota went up a man on a shot that went in off Tanev at 13:21.

Niederreiter scored his 10th on a rebound with 3:12 left in the third as the Wild climbed to within four points of the second wild-card spot, while the Canucks now sit six points out after a fifth straight loss (0-4-1) at Rogers Arena.

Promoted from Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate in Iowa after Yeo’s dismissal, Torchetti kept the top line of Parise, Coyle and Mikko Koivu together against Vancouver, but the other three trios were shuffled, as were two of the three defensive pairings.

The new voice and new approach paid instant dividends.

The Wild dominated the first period from start to finish, outshooting Vancouver 17-4 and leading 2-1. Parise made it 1-0 at 9:31 when he bumped Canucks defenceman Matt Bartkowski off the puck before ripping a slapshot high over Markstrom’s glove from a tight angle for his 18th of the season.

Coming off a demoralizing 5-2 loss to Toronto at home on Saturday where they were outshot 38-19 by the lowly Maple Leafs, the Canucks got that one back on the power play with 4:31 left in the period when Tanev redirected Sedin’s pass off the rush for his third.

But Minnesota restored the lead just 1:17 later on a weird one. Spurgeon, who returned to the lineup after missing three games because of injury, came down the right side and fired a shot that went off Bartkowski’s stick and fooled Markstrom over the shoulder for his seventh.

Notes: Vancouver scored two power-play goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 21. … Canucks centre Alex Friesen made his NHL debut, the eighth rookie to suit up for Vancouver this season.