Canucks-Wild Preview

Unbeaten in December thanks in large part to their defensive

play, the Vancouver Canucks will look to keep rolling Tuesday night

when they face a Minnesota Wild team that’s still having trouble

scoring goals.

Minnesota, though, defeated another powerful Western Conference

team its last time out and will try to run its home winning streak

to four as it looks to prevent Vancouver from winning a third

straight on the road.

The Canucks’ win streak reached seven with a 6-2 home victory

over Boston on Saturday. Despite the lopsided final score, coach

John Tortorella called a timeout and ripped into his team after it

gave up a 1-0 lead in the second period. Vancouver (20-10-5)

responded with five straight goals.

“That was 10 out of 10,” forward David Booth said of

Tortorella’s message. “He was fired up there and it got the guys

going. … That was a turning point for us and changed the outcome

of the game.”

Six players scored for the Canucks and 11 recorded at least a

point.

“(Boston is) one of the best teams in the East, and I consider

us one of the best teams in the West,” Tortorella said. “Both teams

played hard. Those are the type of games you want to be in.”

Chris Higgins scored his 10th goal of the season and has seven

points during a five-game point streak.

The Canucks have killed off all 20 power plays during their win

streak to boost their league-best mark to 90.2 percent. They’ve

allowed eight total goals in the seven games.

The Wild (19-11-5) have scored three regulation goals in their

last three games and are averaging 2.20 for the season. However,

they generated just enough offense to defeat Colorado 2-1 in a

shootout Saturday to close a three-game trip.

Nino Niederreiter’s third-period goal sent the game to overtime

and Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu converted in the tiebreaker.

“After two periods, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Man, we look like

we have nothing in the tank. We look tired,'” coach Mike Yeo said.

“There were plays or decisions we made that are usually kind of a

result of fatigue. The way they stepped up in the third period, the

way they kept themselves in the game, the way they battled to give

ourselves a chance to score that goal – that was a big character

win.”

Minnesota’s home winning streak includes consecutive victories

over West powers Chicago and San Jose.

Josh Harding made 26 saves to improve his league-best

goals-against average to 1.49. He’s won four of his last five

starts, though he’s 2-4-0 with a 2.72 GAA in six career starts

against the Canucks.

Roberto Luongo made 39 saves against Boston and has gone 5-0-0

with a 1.19 GAA during the team’s winning streak. He’s 5-1-0 with a

1.01 GAA and three shutouts in his last six starts against the

Wild, though he lost 3-1 in the latest one March 18.

These teams split their four-game series last season with the

Wild winning the last two.