After coming up short in each of their first two home games, the Vancouver Canucks pulled off a convincing win at Rogers Arena.
They’ve been piling up impressive home victories over the Minnesota Wild for the last few seasons.
The Canucks take the ice Saturday looking to win an eighth straight home game over a Wild team trying to build on a thrilling comeback.
Roberto Luongo(notes) was booed by the home fans following Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the New York Rangers, but he came up big Thursday with 25 saves in a 5-1 home win over Nashville. Henrik and Daniel Sedin(notes) each had a goal and assist during a four-goal first period for the Canucks (3-3-1), who avoided losing their first three home games for the first time since 1984.
Minnesota (3-2-2) knows that feeling.
The Canucks have outscored the Wild 28-12 in winning seven straight home games in the series since a 4-3 overtime loss Jan. 31, 2009. That home win streak, which includes three victories last season by a 14-3 margin, is currently Vancouver’s longest over any opponent.
Kesler, who scored Thursday in his second game after offseason hip surgery, has been instrumental to the Canucks’ home dominance over the Wild. He has scored in each of the last six meetings in Vancouver, tallying nine goals with an assist.
Luongo has been between the pipes six times during that home winning streak, posting a 1.82 goals-against average with a shutout.
The Canucks went 4-2-0 versus the Wild last season and are 13-4-1 against them since 2008-09.
Minnesota arrives in Vancouver after Thursday’s 2-1 shootout victory in Edmonton, its first road win of the season.
With Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom(notes) pulled for an extra attacker, Dany Heatley(notes) stunned the Oilers, slipping the puck under Nikolai Khabibulin’s(notes) arm with two seconds remaining in the third period to tie the score. Matt Cullen(notes) had the shootout winner for Minnesota, which has seen four of its last five games go past regulation.
“I was pleased with the guys and their willingness to stick with it and keep battling,” coach Mike Yeo said. “I was impressed how they believed they could get it done. I was happy to see Dany Heatley get that goal because he was one of the guys who was at the forefront.”
Heatley’s goal was his second for the Wild since being acquired from San Jose in the offseason. Like many of his new teammates, Heatley hasn’t enjoyed much success in Vancouver, tallying one goal in his last six games there.
Backstrom, who made 30 saves Thursday, has been in net five times during Minnesota’s skid in Vancouver, posting a 3.64 GAA.
The Wild have scored only six goals over the past four games while going 0 for 14 on the power play. They went scoreless in 14 chances at Vancouver last season.