|MIN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|VAN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
A three-game winning streak has moved the Vancouver Canucks within one point of the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild.
A victory over the team they're chasing, though, will give the Canucks sole possession of the top spot.
Surging Vancouver looks to extend its run and move past the Wild when they meet on Friday night at GM Place.
Daniel Sedin and Matt Pettinger scored unassisted goals in the second period, and Taylor Pyatt and Trevor Linden each tallied in the third for the Canucks (38-26-10) in their 4-1 win over Edmonton on Thursday night.
"The teams that get timely goals from guys that don't usually get them are the teams that win," Vancouver's Willie Mitchell said. "Legends are made off that in the playoffs, and to be honest in the Northwest the playoffs are right now. Hopefully that kind of thing continues."
Roberto Luongo made 33 saves for Vancouver, which has won three straight and six of its last eight to tie Calgary for sixth in the Western Conference.
The Canucks are trying to reach the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons, but the defending division champions would like to get there with a third Northwest title in hand. They'll continue their pursuit of that crown against Minnesota (36-26-9), which seeks to win the franchise's first division title in its seven-year history and reach the postseason for the third time.
The Wild hold a one-point lead on both Vancouver and Calgary, which beat Colorado on Thursday, keeping the Avalanche three back in the division. The Flames and Avs are idle until Saturday.
Vancouver's and Minnesota's remaining eight games are against division foes, including one more head-to-head matchup on March 28. The Canucks are 3-2-1 against the Wild this season, and three of those meetings have been decided by one goal.
Vancouver came way with a 3-2 win at Minnesota on Feb. 19 in the teams' most recent matchup. Daniel Sedin assisted on Markus Naslund's tying goal in the third period before scoring in overtime.
Minnesota also seeks to win three straight in Vancouver for the first time. But the Wild have dropped their last three road games - their longest skid since going 0-4-1 from Oct. 24-Nov.13.
Minnesota opened its four-game swing with a 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose on Wednesday. Marian Gaborik scored twice for the Wild, who have earned at least a point in six straight games. Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves before surrendering two of three shootout goals for Minnesota, which is just 2-2-4 since a three-game winning streak from Feb. 27-March 2.
The Wild, though, lost defenseman Kurtis Foster for the rest of the season and playoffs after he underwent surgery to repair a displaced fracture in his femur on Thursday. Foster, who had a stabilizing rod inserted, was hurt after crashing into the boards while chasing a puck in Wednesday's game.
"When a guy goes down, you have to battle through it," fellow defenseman Kim Johnsson said. "You have to keep winning games."
Gaborik, who leads the Wild with 38 goals and 73 points, has five goals and five assists in his last 10 contests. He also has four goals and an assist in six games this season, and 17 goals and 28 points in 33 all-time meetings with Vancouver.
|Mar 28 '08||VAN 0 at MIN 4||P. Bouchard|
|Mar 21 '08||MIN 2 at VAN 1||B. Radivojevic|
|Feb 19 '08||VAN 3 at MIN 2 - OT||D. Sedin|
|Feb 14 '08||MIN 5 at VAN 4 - SO||M. Koivu|
|Jan 21 '08||MIN 4 at VAN 2||M. Koivu|
|Dec 02 '07||VAN 1 at MIN 2||A. Voros|
|Nov 21 '07||VAN 4 at MIN 2||M. Naslund|
|Nov 16 '07||MIN 2 at VAN 6||M. Ohlund|