Canucks-Wild Preview

The Associated Press

Unbeaten in December thanks in large part to their defensive play, the Vancouver Canucks will look to keep rolling Tuesday night when they face a Minnesota Wild team that's still having trouble scoring goals.

Minnesota, though, defeated another powerful Western Conference team its last time out and will try to run its home winning streak to four as it looks to prevent Vancouver from winning a third straight on the road.

The Canucks' win streak reached seven with a 6-2 home victory over Boston on Saturday. Despite the lopsided final score, coach John Tortorella called a timeout and ripped into his team after it gave up a 1-0 lead in the second period. Vancouver (20-10-5) responded with five straight goals.

"That was 10 out of 10," forward David Booth said of Tortorella's message. "He was fired up there and it got the guys going. ... That was a turning point for us and changed the outcome of the game."

Six players scored for the Canucks and 11 recorded at least a point.

"(Boston is) one of the best teams in the East, and I consider us one of the best teams in the West," Tortorella said. "Both teams played hard. Those are the type of games you want to be in."

Chris Higgins scored his 10th goal of the season and has seven points during a five-game point streak.

The Canucks have killed off all 20 power plays during their win streak to boost their league-best mark to 90.2 percent. They've allowed eight total goals in the seven games.

The Wild (19-11-5) have scored three regulation goals in their last three games and are averaging 2.20 for the season. However, they generated just enough offense to defeat Colorado 2-1 in a shootout Saturday to close a three-game trip.

Nino Niederreiter's third-period goal sent the game to overtime and Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu converted in the tiebreaker.

"After two periods, I'm thinking to myself, 'Man, we look like we have nothing in the tank. We look tired,'" coach Mike Yeo said. "There were plays or decisions we made that are usually kind of a result of fatigue. The way they stepped up in the third period, the way they kept themselves in the game, the way they battled to give ourselves a chance to score that goal - that was a big character win."

Minnesota's home winning streak includes consecutive victories over West powers Chicago and San Jose.

Josh Harding made 26 saves to improve his league-best goals-against average to 1.49. He's won four of his last five starts, though he's 2-4-0 with a 2.72 GAA in six career starts against the Canucks.

Roberto Luongo made 39 saves against Boston and has gone 5-0-0 with a 1.19 GAA during the team's winning streak. He's 5-1-0 with a 1.01 GAA and three shutouts in his last six starts against the Wild, though he lost 3-1 in the latest one March 18.

These teams split their four-game series last season with the Wild winning the last two.

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