Minnesota
Wild
40-33-9
Vancouver
Canucks
45-27-10

19 SOG
32 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MIN
VAN
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Wild-Canucks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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Wild-Canucks Preview
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks were left to deal with a pair of lengthy skids following a matchup with the Minnesota Wild a few weeks ago.

Wins, however, have been the norm for the Canucks lately, and they'll be seeking their 11th in 13 contests Tuesday night against the Northwest Division rival Wild at GM Place.

A 4-3 overtime loss to visiting Minnesota (30-26-5) on Jan. 31 was Vancouver's eighth straight overall (0-5-3) and its franchise-record ninth in a row (0-6-3) at home. It also left the Canucks (32-22-8) one point behind five teams - including the Wild - tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But the Canucks have since responded with a 10-2-0 surge that includes a season-best five consecutive wins at GM Place, most recently 3-1 against Columbus on Sunday night to improve to 2-0 on its current four-game homestand.

Vancouver is fifth in the West with 72 points, seven behind Chicago and four more than sixth-place Columbus.

"The breathing room is nice and it's very, very important, but you know what, there are still a lot of games left in the season and one game won't do it," right wing Steve Bernier told the Canucks' official Web site. "We need to play like this for the rest of the season if we want to make the playoffs and be in a good spot in the playoffs."

Getting more solid performances from Roberto Luongo are sure to help boost the Canucks' postseason aspirations. Vancouver's captain stopped 19 of 20 shots Sunday, improving to 10-1-0 with a 2.34 goals-against average in his last 11 starts.

Luongo also made 24 saves against the Wild in January, falling to 7-11-4 with a tie and a 2.85 GAA in 23 career matchups. The Canucks had won the first three contests this season versus Minnesota before that defeat.

Minnesota heads into this matchup trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss overall and a third straight to start its current season-high six-game road swing.

The Wild were held to two goals or fewer for the fourth straight time Saturday night, falling 3-2 in Edmonton and slipping to 10th in the West with 65 points - two back of the conference's last playoff spot.

"We had a good game, but we can't be happy with it," forward Mikko Koivu said. "We needed these points as much as they did, but there's nothing else we can do. It was a good effort by the whole team, but we were short by one goal."

Scoring has been a problem all season for the Wild, who have the third-fewest goals in the league with 155 and have totaled just 18 in their last eight (2-4-2). They'll oppose a Canucks team that has held opponents to an average of 2.42 goals during its current 12-game surge.

However, Minnesota's struggling offense received positive news Monday after learning star forward Marian Gaborik is back in St. Paul to continue his rehabilitation from January surgery on his left hip. After leading the Wild with career highs in goals (42) and assists (83) last season, Gaborik has been limited to six games in 2008-09 but anticipates a return by the end of the month.

Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard, meanwhile, will miss the second of a five-game suspension the NHL issued Saturday for elbowing Calgary rookie Brandon Prust in the head during Friday night's loss. Boogaard will be eligible to return March 10.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 31 '09VAN 2 at MIN 1 - OTH. Sedin
Mar 03 '09MIN 2 at VAN 4S. Bernier
Jan 31 '09MIN 4 at VAN 3 - OTM. Bergeron
Dec 05 '08VAN 2 at MIN 1J. Jaffray
Nov 20 '08VAN 3 at MIN 2D. Sedin
Nov 08 '08MIN 0 at VAN 2S. Salo
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu62164157+15442
A. Miettinen62142640-22633
P. Bouchard59142640-61821
A. Brunette60141933-81671
O. Nolan39171330+11793
M. Zidlicky57102030-1158103
E. Belanger59111829-71633
B. Burns5881725-84542
M. Bergeron5281624+02642
K. Johnsson6111415-42600
S. Veilleux617714-183201
J. Sheppard6241014-212801
C. Clutterbuck588311-65511
B. Pouliot375611+11821
D. Fritsche31448-3410
M. Skoula61178-9400
N. Schultz62167-62500
K. Kolanos19336+31610
C. Gillies34246+01401
M. Gaborik6325+0010
P. Olvecky15123+1601
D. Boogaard47033+48500
E. Reitz31112-24100
C. Weller30112-34510
T. Mojzis4011-1200
J. Scott5000-2200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom5228-19-411414932.28.924
J. Harding152-8-1273902.22.931
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
D. Sedin63253661+182655
H. Sedin63124860+133634
R. Kesler63192241+74871
P. Demitra50172239+81431
A. Burrows63181735+1010502
K. Bieksa54102434+16642
S. Bernier62141529+41924
A. Edler6172229+44241
K. Wellwood5514721+4283
J. Hansen5261521+73701
M. Raymond5691120+22240
M. Ohlund6341620+48320
W. Mitchell6331619+224701
S. Salo4151116+31852
M. Sundin226915-21830
T. Pyatt557714-13700
S. O'Brien6001010+1016200
D. Hordichuk56415+29100
R. Johnson43235-1801
J. Jaffray14224-21402
R. Rypien5202-1700
R. Davison23022-45100
J. Krog4101+0210
M. Brown20011-58500
L. Nycholat14011+3600
A. Bolduc7011+1400
M. Ouellet3000+1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Luongo3622-8-58610252.44.916
J. LaBarbera267-10-6656422.85.899
C. Sanford197-8-0424482.59.906
C. Schneider82-4-1201623.38.877