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CANUCKS (6-5-1) at WILD (5-3-3)
TV: SNET-Pacific (HD), FS-North (HD), FS-Wisconsin (HD)
Last 10: Vancouver 5-5-0; Minnesota 4-3-3
Season series: Thursday marks the second of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals. On Oct. 22, Sami Salo scored the game-winner with 21 seconds left in overtime to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 win at Rogers Arena.
Big Story: After consecutive one-goal losses, the Wild finally broke through by sweeping its home-and-home series with the Red Wings -- with each win coming by one goal. The Canucks, the NHL's highest-scoring team last season, finally got their offense untracked by scoring 12 goals in their last two games while beating Washington and Calgary.
Canucks: No one was happier to see October come to an end than Roberto Luongo.
After registering a 3-3-1 mark with a 3.54 goals-against average during the opening month of the season, Luongo kicked off November and the Canucks' six-game road trip in style by stopping 28 of 29 shots in a 5-1 victory in Calgary on Wednesday night.
Luongo's lone blemish came with 31.6 seconds remaining in the game when Alex Tanguay scored to spoil his shutout bid. But in a game where five Canucks found the back of the net, the game was out of reach for the Flames by the second period.
"We got the two points, that's all that mattered," Luongo said. "We got some big goals early on in the game and extend the lead in the second. We did a great job out there for 60 minutes."
Wild: Having played in five straight one-goal decisions, Minnesota has become accustomed to playing tightly-contested games over the last three weeks.
After a 1-0 victory over the Red Wings in St. Paul in the opening leg of their home-and-home series on Saturday, the Wild participated in a similarly gritty contest on Tuesday, when they used a tip-in by Mikko Koivu with 60 seconds left to force overtime before Devin Setoguchi's connected on a power-play rebound for a 2-1 OT win in Detroit.
"You've got to bear down in front [of the net]," Setoguchi said. "Obviously, their D is going to try and move you out of the way, so it's about getting in front in the high traffic areas and being tough on pucks and get shots off of loose pucks."
Josh Harding (2-0-1), whose first three starts of the season have come against the Red Wings, will get the nod again on Thursday against Vancouver.
Who's Hot: Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler has three goals and six points in his last two games. … Setoguchi mustered only two points in his first six games of the season, but has bounced back with two goals and five points.
Injury Report: Mason Raymond (back), Byron Bitz (lower body), Aaron Rome (broken hand) and Steve Pinizzotto (shoulder) are on IR for Vancouver and are expected to miss Thursday's game. … Cody Almond (back), Mike Lundin (upper body) and Greg Zanon (groin) will not play against Vancouver, while Clayton Stoner (hand) is a game-time decision.
Stat Pack: Harding, who missed the entire 2010-11 season due to a knee injury, has faced the Red Wings in seven of his last 16 games dating back to the '09-10 season. Harding showed his familiarity with Detroit during his team's recent home-and-home sweep, stopping 72 of 73 shots.
Puck Drop: The Canucks offense has found its rhythm over the last two games, and coach Alain Vigneault attributes his team's success in that span to its fearless play around the net.
"It's about playing the right way," Vigneault said. "Our guys are trying real hard around the other team's net. Net presence, going there, and we've been able to beat two pretty good goaltenders."