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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (8-8-6) vs. Minnesota Wild (11-5-3)

Time 4:00 PM PT TV Sportsnet Pacific
H2H 2-1-0 Wild Last Meeting 3-2 Canucks - February 16, 2015
The Enemy

Hockey Wilderness

Scoring Leaders

VAN: Daniel Sedin (10-13-23)

MIN: Ryan Suter (3-16-19)

Canucks Category Wild
8-8-6 Season Record 11-5-3
22 Points 25
3rd Division Position 3rd
Lost 1 Streak Won 1
2.86 Goals For Per Game 3.00
2.73 Goals Against Per Game 2.68
20.0 Power Play % 20.3
79.4 Penalty Kill % 75.5
30.8 Shots Per Game 27.1
29.5 Shots Against Per Game 28.9


Last Game at a Glance

For the second time this year, the Canucks lost a one-goal game to the New Jersey Devils.

After no scoring from either side in the first period, Mike Cammalleri opened the scoring for the Devils with a power play goal just sixty five seconds into the second period. Cammalleri also had two assists on the night.

After Andy Greene scored another power play goal for the Devils early in the third period, Henrik Sedin brought the Canucks back to within one goal with 7:21 left in regulation while the Canucks were shorthanded.

Cory Schneider made sure the Devils wouldn't lose their lead against his former team however as he made 36 saves to lead New Jersey to a 3-2 win at Rogers Arena on Sunday night. Schneider was on his game late, making 17 saves in the third period.

Canucks Lineup Notes

Tonight begins a stretch of four games over seven days for the Canucks. On this road trip, they'll be without rookie defenseman Ben Hutton. That's a big loss for the Canucks, as Hutton has shown his ability to get the puck safely out of the defensive zone for Vancouver. Also out is Brandon Sutter, who is on injured reserve with an abdominal strain.

Which road team will show up?

We all remember what happened the last time the Canucks went on a road trip. That one lasted seven games, with the Canucks limping back home after losing six of those. Prior to that road trip, however, the Canucks had gone 4-0-1 in October when they were away from Rogers Arena.

So the question on this road trip will be which of those two teams decides to show up?

Vancouver's House of Horrors

As a team, there are just some teams you'd rather not play on the road. For the Canucks, the Wild are that team. Vancouver has lost nine of their past 13 games dating back to 2009. The Canucks hope this visit will turn out differently if they want to start this road trip on the right foot.

In Vancouver's only visit to Minnesota last year, the Wild scored 5 goals in less than two full periods on their way to a 5-3 win over the Canucks.


Last Game at a Glance

On Saturday night, the Wild defeated the Predators 4-0 for their third shutout win of the season. All three of those shutouts have come at the Xcel Energy Center. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Minnesota.

Ryan Suter and Thomas Vanek both scored on the power play while Devan Dubnyk stopped all 23 shots he faced. Dubnyk has been in net for all three of Minnesota's shutout wins this season.

In addition to his power play goal, Suter added a pair of assists on the night. The Wild defenseman ranks sixth in the NHL this year with sixteen assists and leads Minnesota with 19 points.

Wild Lineup Notes

Zach Parise is still out with a knee injury, and the Wild have been improvising on the fly as a result. Parise has missed seven straight games, but he is expected to return to the lineup soon. Defenseman Marco Scandella (lower body) and forward Justin Fontaine (knee) are still out, but both have been skating.

To match Vancouver's physical play, the Wild recalled forward Kurtis Gabriel from the American Hockey League. Gabriel

Score First, Win Later

The first goal is always known as a big swing of momentum that can set the tone of the game. The Wild have taken that approach to heart this season. When scoring the opening goal, the Wild are 9-1-0 when scoring first. The only game where they lost after scoring first was against the Winnipeg Jets on October 25. In that game, Jason Zucker scored 10 seconds into the game before the Jets went on to win 5-4.

Home Sweet Home

Minnesota has been the league's best team at home this season. While playing at the Xcel Energy Center this year, the Wild are 8-1-0. Their only loss came against Nashville on November 5, when the Predators won 3-2. Since that loss, Minnesota has outscored opponents 10-3 in three straight wins. They'll look to make it four straight wins at home when the Canucks roll into town tonight.