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Daniel Sedin scores shootout winner as Vancouver beats Wild 4-3

The Canadian Press
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Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo stops Minnesota Wild goalie Brian Rolston during the shoot-out portion of NHL action in Vancouver, Sunday, March 4, 2007. The Canucks defeated the Wild 4-3. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) Author: The Hockey News

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Daniel Sedin scores shootout winner as Vancouver beats Wild 4-3

The Canadian Press
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Sedin, the sixth shooter, faked Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom to the ice, then slid the puck past him.

Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo sealed the victory when he got a glove on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's shot.

Kim Johnsson forced a five-minute overtime when he tied the game on a power-play goal at 14:29 of the third period.

The Canucks looked to have the game in hand before defenceman Kevin Bieksa was called for holding.

Late in the power play, Pavol Demitra sent a tape-to-tape pass that Johnsson tapped in past Luongo.

The win, before announced sellout crowd of 18,630, improved Vancouver's record to 38-22-5 for 81 points, leaving them two points ahead of Minnesota.

The Wild are 36-23-76, leaving them third in the Northwest Division and hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Jeff Cowan, known as more of a grinder, scored twice for the Canucks. The other Canuck goal came from Sami Salo, while defenceman Willie Mitchell, a former Wild, had two assists.

Salo's goal was his 11th of the season, a career high for the veteran defenceman who becomes a free agent at the end of the year.

Also scoring for the Wild was Branko Radivojevic and Marian Gaborik, who collected his 23th goal in 32 games. Of the nine goals Radivojevic has scored this season, five have been against the Canucks.

Cowan, who has 73 penalty minutes in 46 games, showed he can use his hands for more than throwing punches when he put the Canucks ahead 3-2 at 12:42 of the second period on a nifty deflection.

Mitchell fired a shot from the point that Cowan redirected in the air past Backstrom.

The hard-nosed Cowan, who Vancouver claimed off waivers from Los Angeles on Dec. 30, has been on a scoring tear. He has three goals in his last two games after going 52 matches without scoring.

Cowan's first goal of the night came early in the second period, just 64 seconds after Gaborik had put Minnesota ahead 2-1. Mitchell fired a shot that Cowan deflected past Backstrom.

In the first period Cowan stood up for his teammates when Minnesota's Derek Boogaard was running guys all over the ice, hitting everything in a Canuck uniform. The six-foot-two Cowan got involved in a shoving match with the six-foot-seven Boogaard, drawing a penalty, but showing he was on duty.

Vancouver, Minnesota and Calgary are all fighting for first place in the Northwest Division.

Finishing first in the division clinches the third seed in the Western Conference and home-ice advantage come the playoffs.

Minnesota opened the scoring at 6:55 of the first period on an innocent looking shot from centre Todd White following an Alex Burrows giveaway.

Luongo easily stopped the shot, then looked to try to divert the puck into the corner. Instead it ended up on Radivojevic's stick and he put a shot over Luongo's shoulder.

Salo tied the game at 17:58, launching a rocket from the blue-line that blasted over Backstrom's shoulder.

Gaborik tied the game just 44 seconds into the second. During a scramble in front of the Vancouver net, he collected a rebound and fired it in to an open net, past an out-of-position Luongo and just out of reach of forward Matt Cooke's stick.

Notes: - Canuck centre Josh Green will be out six weeks after suffering a MCL sprain in his right knee in Thursday's win over Phoenix. ...Luongo's win over Phoenix Thursday was his 36th of the season, breaking his previous high of 35 wins last year with Florida. ...Luongo has faced 30 or more shots 31 times in the 61 games he's played this year.

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Daniel Sedin scores shootout winner as Vancouver beats Wild 4-3