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Harding stands out in Wild win

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Erik Christensen's power-play goal late in the second period gave Josh Harding and the Minnesota Wild a long-sought win, 2-0 over the suddenly sputtering Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

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Kyle Brodziak's empty-netter gave the Wild even more to smile about, hearing a rare end-of-the-game roar from their fans after this win over the Northwest Division leader and competitor for the NHL's best record.

The Canucks won't get there if they keep playing like this. They're 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Starting a four-game road trip the wrong way, they were shut out for the fourth time this season. The first three of those came in the first 10 games.

Harding made 33 saves for his second shutout of the season and his first victory since Jan. 21 over Dallas. Christensen got his fourth goal in four games

These division rivals usually play rough games, and there was after-the-whistle shoving and jawing in each period. Late in the second, Canucks star Ryan Kesler was called for clipping when he charged at Cal Clutterbuck's legs and sent the Wild right wing tumbling onto his back.

After a roughing call on Vancouver's Alex Burrows and a fight between his teammate Kevin Bieksa and Minnesota's Nick Johnson, the Wild finished the middle frame on a power play. Showing crisper puck movement and more aggression than they have in months, they ended a 1 for 23 skid with a much-needed man-advantage goal.

Clutterbuck centered a pass to Brodziak, who sent a blind backhand feed from the crease to a late-breaking Christensen from the right circle. He sneaked the puck into the side of the net, grazing goalie Cory Schneider's shoulder area as it went in.

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Pioneer staff reports
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