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Wild rally ousts Canucks

Upstart Minnesota meets Anaheim in an unlikely Western Conference final.
CP   2003-05-09 11:31:30  

VANCOUVER -- Darby Hendrickson turned a neutral-zone turnover into a goal late in the third period as the Minnesota Wild erased a two-goal deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 last night and make history in the deciding game of the NHL Western Conference semifinal.

Hendrickson, a former Canuck, scooped up a loose puck and fired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle past Dan Cloutier.

Pascal Dupuis scored his second of the game on a power play at 17:27 after Todd Bertuzzi was called for interference. There was just seven seconds left in the power play.

The Wild will play host to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in tomorrow's opening game of the conference final.

Mattias Ohlund, with his third of the playoffs, and Bertuzzi, with his first goal in nine games, scored for the Canucks, who had let the Wild back in the best-of-seven series after leading 3-1.

Minnesota's Wes Walz tied the game at 8:05 of the third.

The Wild had also come back from a 3-1 deficit against the heavily favoured Colorado Avalanche in the opening round.

Minnesota became the first team to rebound from two 3-1 deficits in one postseason.

The first four games of the series had been decided by one goal. The Wild battled back, outscoring Vancouver 12-3 in the next two games.

The Canucks hadn't lost three games in a row all season.

After a scoreless first period Ohlund scored the game's first goal at 11:29 of the second. The tall, lean Swede ripped a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that Wild goalie Dwayne Roloson didn't see.

Just 61 seconds later Bertuzzi made it 2-0, bringing a deafening roar from the crowd.

The big power forward, who has been criticized for his lack of scoring in the playoffs after scoring 46 goals during the regular season, broke in alone and lifted the puck over Roloson.

The Wild showed they weren't quitting by drawing to within one at 15:30 on a strange play.

Forward Sergei Zholtok was checked behind the Canuck goal, resulting in the puck sailing over the net.

Dupuis, standing at the edge of the crease, swatted it out of the air like a bug and behind Cloutier.

The Canucks argued for a high-sticking call. The play was reviewed and the goal stood.




WINS 4-3

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