On a night full of some ridiculous hockey and even more ridiculous comebacks, the Vancouver Canucks closed the door on the Minnesota Wild with a 5-4 overtime victory to clinch a playoff berth.
Chris Tanev secured the win for the Canucks, scoring just 11 seconds into the extra frame with a slick wrister from the point. It somehow found its way through legs and Minnesota goalie Alex Stalock.
Vancouver was, like nearly every other team that won on a nutty Friday night, behind the proverbial eight-ball. And fittingly they managed to win their first playoff series in nine years with an immediate strike in overtime.
The Wild were ahead by a goal going into the third period, but Bo Horvat tied it up for the Canucks at 14:14 to send it to extra innings.
The contest began with a fight between Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman and Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen before Luke Kunin opened the scoring for the Wild on the power play.
Tanner Pearson responded for Vancouver, but Eric Staal popped one in to give the Wild a 2-1 lead exiting the first period.
Both teams scored twice in the second period, with Nico Sturm giving Minnesota the lead with under a minute left in the middle frame.
Four out of five games on Friday night were one-goal affairs, with three needing overtime. The Toronto Maple Leafs staved off elimination with a phenomenal comeback against Columbus, while the Arizona Coyotes dumped the Nashville Predators to win their series.
The Canucks played strong on the forecheck against the Wild and gutted it out when it mattered most, with goalie Jacob Markstrom playing quality hockey.
Vancouver now advances to the round of 16 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Image: Canadian Press