ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Cory Schneider's emergence in goal for Vancouver has raised questions about whether stalwart Roberto Luongo will soon be traded.
For now, the Canucks can sure put both of them to good use.
Schneider made 22 saves and Mason Raymond had a power-play goal and an assist in the second period to lead Vancouver past the sputtering Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Thursday night, the fourth straight win for the Canucks.
"That's what he's always done for us. He's always come in in these situations in the past," said coach Alain Vigneault, who gave Schneider his first action in 11 days.
Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen also had goals for the Canucks. Tom Gilbert spoiled the shutout on a power-play slap shot with 12:35 left for the Wild. Luongo has the league's third-best goals-against average and played the last four games, but he has struggled at Minnesota in recent years. So Schneider got the assignment.
"It's great knowing there's another guy who can go in there and put up those kind of numbers, and it just motivates you to be that good and chase him," Schneider said. "I've been doing it for a couple years now, and I think the team enjoys that, just knowing whoever's in the net we can win."
Niklas Backstrom gave up two scores in each of the first two periods for the Wild, and Josh Harding was in the net for the final frame. But they could only wish their problems were limited to the net.
"We definitely need these points and, yeah, it's tough to come back in this league, especially when you're down a couple goals," Gilbert said. "You start pressing a little bit. I just don't think we got to our game right away, and we let them dictate the way they wanted to play the game."
After scoring four times in their season opener, the Wild had only 16 goals over their previous eight games. Schneider had a big hand -- and stick -- in extending the slide.
"Would have been a good chance for us to bounce back after not winning on the road trip, but we didn't show up," said Zach Parise, who had eight shots. "Pretty simple."
Winless in four road games this season, the Wild returned with yet another new menu of forward groups as coach Mike Yeo continues to try to coax more production from this deep offense. Rookie Charlie Coyle was on the first line for his first NHL home game with Parise and Mikko Koivu, and slumping Dany Heatley was down on the second trio with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
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