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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 11th (All times eastern)

Minnesota Wild (21-19-3) at Vancouver Canucks (24-18-1), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams carrying decidedly different streaks will square off this evening at Vancouver's General Motors Place, where the Canucks will try to extend their impressive winning run against the road-challenged Minnesota Wild.

Vancouver has vaulted to the top of the competitive Northwest Division by winning their last seven games. The surging club kept up its winning ways on Sunday, when the Canucks outlasted the Florida Panthers in a shootout.

Josh Green ended the contest when he beat Panthers netminder Ed Belfour in the sixth round of the shootout, giving Vancouver a hard-fought 4-3 win. Markus Naslund had a goal and an assist in regulation, while Trevor Linden and Brendan Morrison also scored in the win.

Former Panther Roberto Luongo faced his ex-club and made 33 saves in regulation, then stopped five of six Florida skaters during the shootout. The standout goaltender was traded by the Panthers to Vancouver on the eve of the 2006 NHL draft.

Luongo, whose 24 wins this season trails only New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, was selected to start for the Western Conference squad in the upcoming All-Star Game earlier this week.

The Canucks will wrap up a four-game homestand tonight and have won eight straight games at GM Place. The franchise record for consecutive home wins is nine.

Vancouver, which is 15-7-0 at home for the season, begins a four-game road swing Saturday in Toronto.

Minnesota started its current four-game road trip with Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Calgary, the Wild's 11th consecutive defeat as the visitor.

The Wild are a woeful 4-15-1 on the road and haven't won in an enemy arena since a 7-6 shootout victory at Nashville on November 16.

Minnesota, which has lost three straight overall, continues the trip Friday at Edmonton before visiting Chicago on Sunday.

The Wild are 3-1 against Vancouver this season and have taken four of the last five meetings between the division rivals. Minnesota has just one win in its nine most recent visits to GM Place, however, registering five losses and three ties over that stretch.

The home team has emerged victorious in eight of the last nine games of this series. Seven of those meetings have been decided by one goal.

01/11 11:01:55 ET


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