Canucks visit Wild, shoot for third straight win
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to record their first three-game winning streak in three months when they visit the Minnesota Wild for Wednesday's battle at Xcel Energy Center.
Vancouver enters Wednesday's action six points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but the club is coming off consecutive wins. The Canucks won both games during a brief two-game homestand, beating Nashville and Buffalo at Rogers Arena, and hope to carry that recent success into their upcoming two-game road trip.
Keeping up the pace on the road could be tough, however, as Vancouver is only 15-19-4 as the visiting team this season and has lost nine of its last 11 games as the away club.
With Sunday's 4-2 win over Buffalo, the Canucks were able to record consecutive victories for the first time since beating Calgary and Edmonton on Jan. 18 and 21, respectively. Vancouver hasn't won three straight games since defeating Minnesota, Dallas and Chicago from Dec. 20-29.
The Canucks are running out of time to prove themselves worthy of a playoff spot, as the club only has nine games left on its regular-season schedule to break into the West's top eight seeds. Vancouver is currently six behind Phoenix for the last playoff berth in the conference and is three points in back of ninth-seeded Dallas. Neither the Coyotes or the Stars in action on Wednesday.
After downing the Predators 2-0 last Wednesday, the Canucks scored four unanswered goals to pick up a win Sunday versus the Sabres. Buffalo grabbed a 2-0 lead before the game was four minutes old but Vancouver rallied for the 4-2 triumph.
Shawn Matthias had a goal and two assists to lead the comeback. Zack Kassian had the primary assist on all four goals -- also setting up Brad Richardson, Yannick Weber and David Booth.
"Huge two points for us," Booth said. "We didn't back down. We pushed through and came back."
Eddie Lack faced only 18 shots and didn't give up a goal in the last 56:31 after letting pucks from Tyler Ennis and Jamie McBain get through early on.
The game was not a complete success for Vancouver, however, as forward Henrik Sedin left Sunday's tilt with an injured left leg and will not be with the Canucks on this road trip. Winger Alexandre Burrows also missed Sunday's game after suffering a hand injury last Wednesday against Nashville and he expects to miss a second straight test tonight.
Oddly enough, Daniel Sedin had just returned on Sunday from a nine-game absence due to a hamstring injury only to see his twin brother go down with a leg issue of his own in the second period of Sunday's win. Fellow forward Ryan Kesler also played Sunday after missing the previous four tilts with a sprained knee.
The Canucks are scheduled to visit Colorado on Thursday before returning to Vancouver for a five-game homestand. After completing the brief trip tomorrow, the club will close the regular season by playing six of seven tests at home.
Minnesota is currently occupying the first of the West's two wild card spots. The Wild are three points in front of Phoenix for that distinction.
The Wild recently split a home-and-home series against the Detroit Red Wings, with each team picking up a victory on the road.
After dropping a 3-2 regulation decision at home on Saturday, Minnesota bounced back for Sunday's 4-3 overtime victory in the Motor City. Matt Moulson scored the game-winner 2:15 into OT, lifting the Wild to only their third win in 10 games (3-3-4).
Just over two minutes into the extra session, Minnesota's Jonas Brodin threw a low shot on net from the right point that a cutting Moulson redirected past Jimmy Howard to snap the Wild's two-game losing streak.
"It was nice to end one before the shootout for once," said Moulson.
Moulson has four goals and four assists in 10 games since being traded from Buffalo to the Wild. He has 21 goals and 46 points in 65 combined games this season with the Sabres, Wild and New York Islanders.
Charlie Coyle added a goal and an assist, while Zach Parise and Jason Pominville potted a goal apiece for Minnesota. Ilya Bryzgalov only needed to make 13 saves for the win.
Darcy Kuemper will get the start in net for Minnesota on Wednesday. He is 1-1-0 with a 1.45 goals against average in two career outings against the Canucks.
Lack lost his only career game against Minnesota in a shootout on Feb. 28. The rookie netminder yielded one goal on 23 shots through regulation and overtime.
The Wild have a solid 23-8-5 record as the home team, but have lost two straight and four of their last five tests in St. Paul.
Vancouver will try to avoid getting swept by the Wild in the season series on Wednesday. Minnesota claimed the first two encounters in 2013-14 with a pair of shootout victories.
The clubs have split the last 10 meetings overall, but the Canucks have lost two straight, three of four and eight of their past 11 games at Xcel Energy Center.
03/26 10:59:44 ET