NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 10th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (11-6-6) at Minnesota Wild (12-9-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to avoid their longest losing streak in over two years when they visit the Minnesota Wild in Sunday's battle at Xcel Energy Center.
The Canucks have lost three straight games (0-1-2), matching their longest skid of this shortened season. Vancouver hasn't gone four straight without a win in the regular season since an 0-1-3 funk from Jan. 16-22, 2011.
Vancouver suffered its two most recent setbacks after regulation and the club dropped a 2-1 overtime decision Thursday night at Columbus. Matt Calvert's goal with 57 seconds left in overtime lifted the Blue Jackets to the win at Nationwide Arena.
Henrik Sedin provided the lone goal for the Canucks, losers in five of their last six tilts. Cory Schneider stopped 25 of the 27 shots he saw in the setback.
"There were some chances (to score) at the end there, maybe they may not have been the quality looks you need in this league," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We need to do a better job getting the goaltender's eyes away so he doesn't see the puck. We had some shots and we had a few opportunities, but maybe not the quality we needed to score."
The Canucks have scored five goals during its three-game slide and Vancouver is 0-for-8 on the power play over that span.
Vancouver has played the last three games without defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who is questionable for Sunday with a groin injury. Bieksa leads all Canucks' defenseman with five goals this season and is third on the team in ice time.
The Canucks are 5-3-3 on the road this season and are playing the middle portion of a three-game swing on Sunday. Vancouver will close the trip Tuesday with another game in Columbus.
Minnesota won for the second time in three games Saturday, beating the Nashville Predators in a shootout at Bridgestone Arena.
Matt Cullen posted the winner in the final round of the shootout, lifting the Wild to a 2-1 road win. Cullen began the third round with a successful wrister after using several quick stick moves to fool Pekka Rinne, and the Wild escaped with a victory after David Legwand rang his backhander off the right post.
"We need all the points we can get right now and this extra one is big," said Cullen. "At the end of the season these shootout points will mean the difference between making or not making the playoffs."
Zach Parise scored in regulation and Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves for the Wild, winners in four of their last six games.
Minnesota enters Sunday in ninth place in the West, but the Wild are just one point behind San Jose and Phoenix for the conference's last two playoff spots. The Coyotes are idle on Sunday, while the Sharks play in Colorado.
The Canucks are 2-0 against Minnesota this season, winning regulation games in Vancouver and St. Paul. Vancouver has claimed five of six and nine of the past 11 encounters in this series overall and the Wild have dropped two of three on home ice.
03/10 11:03:03 ET