Over the next two games, the Vancouver Canucks can solidify their playoff hopes and almost assuredly end those of a division rival.
Surging Vancouver meets the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday in the start of two straight games between the teams at GM Place. They will play again in the season-series finale on Friday.
With 84 points, the Canucks start play tied with the Oilers for seventh place in the Western Conference. Vancouver and Edmonton trail Anaheim and Calgary by two points for fifth place.
Ninth-place San Jose trails Vancouver and Edmonton by two points for the final playoff spot.
Rookie Alexandre Burrows helped Vancouver to its third win in four games by notching his first career hat trick in the Canucks’ 7-4 win Monday over Los Angeles.
“Right now every night is the biggest game of my life down the stretch,” said Burrows, a 24-year-old rookie who started the season on a tryout with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate and didn’t sign with the Canucks until a month into the season.
It was the first multigoal game in Burrows’ career and ended a 21-game drought without a goal.
Todd Bertuzzi has been the Canucks’ hottest player of late, recording a goal and eight assists in a six-game points streak, his longest since a career-high 12-game run from Jan. 17-Feb. 13, 2003.
“We’re playing with a lot more confidence and winning does that,” Bertuzzi said. “I like where our heads are at and we just got to keep with it.”
Minnesota is in 11th place in the West, 11 points behind Vancouver and Edmonton with 10 games remaining. The Wild started a three-game road trip Tuesday with a 3-2 win over the Oilers.
Forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard said the Wild are enjoying their role as spoilers.
“Why not, you know?” he said. “We want to try and make it harder for the other teams.”
Bouchard scored the tying goal early in the third period off an assist from Brian Rolston, who tallied what proved to be the game-winner with less than nine minutes remaining.
Rolston has scored goals in four straight and has six points in a five-game streak. He has just two goals and three assists in six games this season against the Canucks.