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Originally published Monday, March 19, 2012 at 9:56 PM

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Vancouver Canucks are shut out in Minnesota | NHL

The Vancouver Canucks lost 2-0 to the Wild in Minnesota, losing for the fifth time in their last seven games.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — With 10 games left in the regular season for the Vancouver Canucks, there is little danger of falling out of first place in the Northwest Division.

The Canucks are more concerned about a recent series of uncharacteristic performances. They are still on reasonably solid footing for the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs, but on the ice they have been slipping.

Erik Christensen's power-play goal late in the second period gave goalie Josh Harding and the Minnesota Wild a long-sought victory, 2-0 over the sputtering Canucks on Monday.

Vancouver (43-21-8) has lost five of its last seven.

"It's about playing our game and trusting that our system is going to win us games and not individual efforts. That's what won us games last year," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, who is rarely held without a point against Minnesota.

Kyle Brodziak's empty-net goal with three seconds left gave the Wild even more to smile about, hearing a rare end-of-the-game roar from its fans. Minnesota snapped a five-game home losing streak.

"They were rockin'. I think they might have still been drunk from St. Patrick's Day," Harding said.

The Canucks are six points behind league leader St. Louis, which has played one more game.

Vancouver failed to crash the net with urgency or consistency and was shut out for the fourth time this season.

"We've got to muster up a way to find a way to win games," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said. "If we play the way we can and we get better, we shouldn't have a problem winning the majority of our games from here on out."

Harding made 33 saves for his second shutout of the season, thanks in part to 14 blocked shots by teammates.

"I think you can count on one hand the number of Grade-A scoring chances that we had tonight five-on-five," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.

"We did have possession time, but a lot of it was on the outside ... not enough on the inside."

Note

• The host New York Rangers beat New Jersey 4-2 and became the first Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff berth.

The teams put frequent brawlers in their starting lineups and three fights broke out shortly after the opening faceoff.

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