VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Alex Galchenyuk scored the tying goal and the shootout winner as the Minnesota Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Wednesday night and delivered new coach Dean Evason his first win as an NHL coach.
“It’s amazing,” Evason said. “You hear things happen for a reason and all of those things. To have my three children here was awesome.”
Hailing from Winnipeg, Evason played junior hockey in Kamloops, British Columbia, and his son is with the team as part of a fathers and mentors trip. His two daughters, who live in British Columbia, were also in attendance.
The 55-year-old Evason, who’s now 1-1-0 since taking over from Bruce Boudreau last Friday, said he couldn’t watch as Galchenyuk sealed the win in the fifth round of the shootout.
“I knew where the kids were and all the dads and mentors,” he said. “I just looked up at my three kids sitting in the front and watched their reaction.
“All three of them jumped up in the air, so I knew we scored.”
Kevin Fiala and Luke Kunin also scored in regulation for Minnesota, and Mats Zuccarello had two assists. Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 shots.
J.T. Miller scored twice in the third period and Jay Beagle added a goal for Vancouver. Quinn Hughes recorded two assists. Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves.
“It’s a good hard-fought game,” said Miller, who hit a career high with his 23rd and 24th goals of the season and took over the Canucks’ scoring lead. “I thought we played a pretty good game.
“Nice to get the lead in the third, and they kind of got a goofy one.”
The single point moved the Canucks into a tie with the Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division.
Minnesota is five points out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The Wild opened the scoring 63 seconds into the game, when Fiala collected his 15th goal of the year on Minnesota’s only shot in the first 11 minutes.
Dubnyk was busy at the other end of the ice in his first start in four games. He squeezed a Miller shot from a breakaway between his pads and denied Antoine Roussel on a close-in attempt from the slot as the Canucks outshot the Wild 10-5 in the first.
Vancouver evened the score early in the second when Hughes threaded a goalmouth pass through to Beagle for his second goal of the year and first in 42 games.
The Wild regained the lead with 6:57 left to go in the second when a Kunin redirection trickled between Markstrom’s pads and into the net.
The Canucks came out strong to start the third. After Miller hit the post on an early 2-on-1, he was rewarded with his career-high 23rd goal of the season when he deflected a point shot from Tyler Toffoli past Dubnyk. Toffoli’s assist was his first point as a Canuck after being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade on Monday.
Miller put the Canucks ahead just over three minutes later with his second of the night, a blast from the left circle after a sharp pass from Troy Stecher.
Galchenyuk tied the game with under five minutes left, with his first point since being traded to the Wild on Feb. 10. He scooped a wraparound off Vancouver defenseman Troy Stecher and past Markstrom.
“Obviously getting the first one, it’s definitely a weight off your shoulders,” Galchenyuk said. “But the way we did it is an extra-special feeling, especially with the dads in the crowd. Can’t get better than that.”
Galchenyuk beat Markstrom for the winner after Bo Horvat was denied on the other end in the fifth round of the shootout.
Markstrom said his performance was “not good enough.”
“The guys scored two goals in the shootout on the first three — you’ve gotta win the game,” Markstrom said. “You’ve gotta help the guys win the game.”
NOTES: Speed-skating gold medallist Christine Nesbitt was part of a group of Canadian athletes from the 2010 Winter Olympics on hand at Rogers Arena to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Vancouver games. … Actor Emilio Estevez was also in the house. He’s in Vancouver filming the new ‘Mighty Ducks’ TV series. … Tanner Pearson’s dog Emma was named the winner of the Canucks inaugural Top Dog race in the second intermission, beating out five other teammates’ canine companions.
Wild: At Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
Canucks: Host Boston Bruins on Saturday.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.