Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves, and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-0 in Game 3 to take the lead in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday.
Brock Boeser, Antoine Roussel and Elias Pettersson scored, and Quinn Hughes had three assists for the Canucks, the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, who can advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with one more win.
“This is a team shutout for sure,” Markstrom said. “I want to be there to come up with some saves when the puck goes through when they shoot it at the net. It’s my job to keep the puck out of the net. Together with pretty much all of my teammates, we did a great job today. It’s a big win, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a shutout or not.”
It was the first postseason shutout for the Canucks since Roberto Luongo made 31 saves in a 1-0 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final on June 10, 2011.
[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Wild highlights]
Game 4 is in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, on Friday (10:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N).
Teams that win Game 3 after a series is tied 1-1 are 22-7 (75.9 percent) winning a best-of-5 NHL series (14-2 when last used from 1980-86).
Alex Stalock made 26 saves for the Wild, the No. 10 seed in the West, who scored six goals in the first two games of the series. Minnesota was 0-for-7 on the power play and is 0-for-13 in the past two games.
“That’s the game,” said Wild forward Kevin Fiala, who had 14 shot attempts, including four on goal. “Sometimes we’re going to score, sometimes not. Sometimes there’s just nothing wrong. But they’re blocking a lot of shots, too much. We’ve got to get those through and get us an opportunity to score goals. We just have to be smarter with the puck and maybe a little more patient and get some shots on the net.”
Boeser gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 13:49 of the second period with a backhand off a rebound. It was his second goal in two games.
“It’s huge. I think I’ve talked about it a lot where I think I didn’t score enough for our team this past year,” said Boeser, who scored 16 goals in 57 regular-season games. “We come here and they need me to score and help our team win. Overall, I thought our will to win was high today. We did the little things right that gave us success and a big win.”
Roussel made it 2-0 by racing to a loose puck in the neutral zone and scoring with a backhand at 2:18 of the third period.
“Feels awesome,” said Roussel, who left Game 2 late in the second period after getting hit in the face by a deflected puck. “Scoring in the playoffs is what you live for, what you dream for all the time. That was pretty scary. I felt fine yesterday and went to practice and reassured myself, and today it was not even a single question (that I would play).”
Pettersson scored his first NHL postseason goal, on a power play with 1:22 remaining for the 3-0 final. He, Boeser and Hughes, each playing in his third NHL postseason game, combined for seven points (two goals, five assists).
“I don’t think you can put a price on experience,” Hughes said. “I think this is really big for all the young guys here. For us, we just try to lean on the guys that have been here a bit and try to take it one day at a time.”
The Canucks had 22 blocked shots to 11 for the Wild and have a 49-36 advantage in the series.
“All our boys played really well,” Roussel said. “They blocked hard shots. … They put all of their life on the line. It fires up everybody.”
The Wild have not scored a 5-on-5 goal in the series (two power-play goals, two 6-on-5, one shorthanded, one into an empty net).
“We thought our 5-on-5 play has been exceptional [this season],” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “We thought that we were creating, getting opportunities, getting zone and possession time, but just not finding the back of the net yet. We’re all around it. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we believe that we’ll get an opportunity to break it open.”
The Canucks played without forward Micheal Ferland, who left a 4-3 win in Game 2 on Tuesday and was ruled unfit to play for the remainder of the series, and forwards Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette, who each missed a second straight game (unfit to play).
As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
Wild defenseman Ryan Suter didn’t play the final 6:51 after blocking a shot. Evason did not have an update.
“We should bring out the best hockey that we’ve played all year tomorrow,” Minnesota forward Marcus Foligno said. “There’s not one guy in there that’s thinking about going home. We’ve got a chance to even the series tomorrow, and that’s what we plan to do.”
NHL.com staff writer Pete Jensen contributed to this report