Wild-Canucks Preview


While the Minnesota Wild got the best of the Vancouver Canucks last weekend, a repeat performance could be difficult at Rogers Arena.

Sitting in a tie atop the Northwest Division, Minnesota tries to avoid a 12th consecutive loss at Vancouver as these teams conclude their season series Monday night.

The Wild (15-10-2) had been outscored 6-2 during a pair of regulation losses to the Canucks (13-8-6) before last Sunday's 4-2 home win. Zach Parise scored twice and added an assist while Niklas Backstrom made 25 saves to snap a personal 0-6-1 skid versus Vancouver.

"Our guys were ready for this one, for sure," coach Mike Yeo said afterward. "We feel like we're a team that's on the up and going in the right direction, and we were looking forward to this chance."

Minnesota can't be feeling good about its chances of evening the series given its recent efforts in Vancouver. Since earning a 4-3 overtime win there Jan. 31, 2009, the Wild have been outscored 40-15 during an 0-9-2 skid. Roberto Luongo has started nine times, posting a 1.33 goals-against average and three shutouts.

"Whether it's a coincidence or what, I'll take it," Luongo said of that success. "They're divisional games so they're important. We have a pretty good streak against them."

The Wild, however, are seeking a season-best third consecutive victory after scoring 11 goals to sweep a home-and-home set from Colorado.

Devin Setoguchi tallied two goals and an assist in Saturday's 6-4 road win while Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Ryan Suter recorded one of each. Suter has 14 points over his last 10 games.

"Right now our offense is a result of what we're doing in our own end," Setoguchi, who's scored in three straight contests, told the league's official website. "We're doing a good job there and we're using our speed to take pucks to the net. When we do that, we've got such a big, strong team that can skate, it's tough to defend."

In winning nine of 13, the Wild have averaged 3.0 goals - up from 2.0 in their first 14 contests - and have killed 31 of 34 penalties.

"It has been fun," said Danny Heatley, who notched his 399th and 400th career assists Saturday. "We have four lines that are playing well, our 'D' is playing well. ... Now we have to keep it going. Vancouver is real good in their building and it's going to be a real big one for us."

The Canucks had posted back-to-back wins over Columbus and Nashville before falling 5-2 to Detroit on Saturday. Vancouver went 0 for 6 on the man advantage and dropped to 3-5-2 since Feb. 24.

"We're facing some adversity, but we've got 20 guys in there that can do the job and no one's going to do it for us," said Alexandre Burrows, who scored both goals. "We know what we're made of, we know what we can do and we just have to keep putting those work boots on."

Luongo, who stopped 21 shots, has a 4.14 GAA in his last five starts. Cory Schneider is 0-1-2 with a 2.57 GAA in his last three.

David Booth is unlikely to be available after suffering a leg injury Saturday. The left wing was seen leaving the arena on crutches with his left foot in a walking boot.

"He was starting to play for us, bringing a lot of energy and some grit for us," Burrows said of Booth, who missed the first 14 games with a groin injury. "It's tough to see him go down."