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Canucks-Wild Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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Canucks-Wild Preview
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild

A torrid two-month stretch has the Vancouver Canucks in position to take over the lead in the Northwest Division.

The surging Canucks can do so by concluding a six-game road trip with a third straight victory Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, who are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.

With home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs on the line, Vancouver (41-25-9) won 4-0 at Chicago on Sunday to move back in a tie with the Blackhawks for the coveted fourth spot in the West.

"It's a dangerous team when they are firing on all cylinders, which they are now," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of the Canucks, who are 3-2-0 on the trip.

The Canucks are 19-5-1 since an eight-game losing streak from Jan. 9-31, and one point behind rival Calgary in the Northwest. A win Tuesday and Vancouver would surpass the Flames for the top spot in the division and third place in the West.

"We're going to continue to go on a game-to-game basis, and we've got a big one coming up here in Minnesota," coach Alain Vigneault told the Canucks' official Web site.

Vancouver is 4-0-1 against the Wild (36-32-8) this season, with two one-goal victories at Minnesota. The Wild are 11th in the West and three points behind St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot with six games remaining - four of which are at home.

"We'll start with winning the next one," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We want the guys to get ready for the next game and focus on one game at a time and hope the teams that are ahead of us lose."

Minnesota knows it's in for a challenge against the Canucks, who've outscored Chicago and Colorado 8-1 in their last two games.

Daniel Sedin had two goals with an assist, Alex Burrows had one and two assists and Henrik Sedin added three assists Sunday for Vancouver. Daniel Sedin has four goals and four assists in his last four games, and twin brother Henrik has three and six, respectively, in the same span.

Henrik Sedin has eight assists against the Wild this season while Daniel has two goals and two assists. Alex Burrows scored twice in Vancouver's 4-2 home win over Minnesota on March 3 in the teams' most recent meeting.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo made 26 saves Sunday to match a career high with his seventh shutout. Luongo is 29-11-6 with a 2.38 goals-against average and 2-0-1 with a 1.99 GAA versus Minnesota this season.

The Wild won 3-2 at Edmonton on Sunday to split a four-game road trip. Minnesota is 4-3-0 since losing four in a row.

"We are never going to give up," said goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who made 31 saves for his career-high 34th win. "We have come back in different games and hope that we can do that in the standings right now."

Marian Gaborik had a goal with an assist, and Andrew Brunette scored in his third straight contest for the Wild, who have 11 goals in their last three contests. Gaborik has four of his seven goals during an injury-plagued season in his last four contests.

Leading scorer Mikko Koivu returned Sunday after missing three games with a leg injury. Koivu has a career-high 62 points and four of his 18 goals have come against Vancouver.

Backstrom is 34-23-7 with a 2.36 GAA, but 1-4-0 with a 2.82 GAA against Vancouver this season.

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
D. Sedin76304777+233687
H. Sedin76195776+204247
R. Kesler76243155+95291
P. Demitra63193150+82041
A. Burrows76262147+2113203
K. Bieksa67113142-19752
A. Edler74102434+105251
S. Bernier75151631+42724
K. Wellwood6816925+4493
M. Sundin3591625-52652
S. Salo5451823+72652
M. Raymond67101222+32440
M. Ohlund7641822+139920
W. Mitchell7631922+315701
J. Hansen5461521+73701
T. Pyatt6810818+04301
O. Vaananen4811011+82200
S. O'Brien7101010+418000
R. Johnson56268+21001
D. Hordichuk68415+210400
J. Jaffray14224-21402
R. Rypien6202-1700
R. Davison23022-45100
J. Krog4101+0210
M. Brown20011-58500
L. Nycholat14011+3600
A. Bolduc7011+1400
M. Ouellet3000+1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Luongo4830-11-611013712.34.920
J. LaBarbera288-10-6676752.78.901
C. Sanford197-8-0424482.59.906
C. Schneider82-4-1201623.38.877
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu74184462-26653
A. Brunette75202646-41672
P. Bouchard71163046-52021
A. Miettinen77152843-53243
O. Nolan54231942+226115
M. Zidlicky71112839-1472103
E. Belanger74122133-52233
M. Bergeron67111728+03052
B. Burns5981927-74542
K. Johnsson7612223-23800
S. Veilleux7613821-174001
J. Sheppard7751520-143901
C. Clutterbuck738614-57411
M. Skoula7631114-11800
M. Gaborik128513+1221
B. Pouliot375611+11821
D. Fritsche464711-71010
N. Schultz772810-43100
K. Kolanos21336+31610
C. Gillies41246-31401
P. Olvecky27235-11001
C. Weller34123-24710
D. Boogaard51033+38700
E. Reitz31112-24100
J. Scott16011-12100
K. Foster5011+0200
T. Mojzis4011-1200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom6734-23-815119252.35.922
J. Harding182-9-1294252.15.932