Canucks look to add to Wild's road woes

The Sports Network
3/3/2009 11:30:25 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try again for the first win on their longest road trip of the season in tonight's clash with the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place.

The Wild have lost each of their last three games, including the first two tests of a six-game road trip. Minnesota is now just 12-15-0 on the road this year and has fallen two points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

This trek began with a loss in Calgary on Friday, and the Wild then headed to Edmonton the following night and were dealt a 3-2 setback by the Oilers.

Andrew Brunette and Antii Miettinen lit the lamp for Minnesota, which had a 27-save effort from Josh Harding go by the wayside in the club's sixth loss in its last eight contests.

The loss was overshadowed due to a scary eye injury suffered by the Oilers' Ethan Moreau, who caught an inadvertent high-stick by Miettinen flush in the right eye with 20 seconds left. Moreau stayed laying on his stomach for a stretch before being helped to the locker room. He was taken to Royal Alexandria Hospital, which specializes in optometry, but won't need surgery.

The Wild played without Derek Boogaard, who missed Saturday's game after serving the first contest of a five-game suspension handed down that day for an elbow to the head of Calgary's Brandon Prust on Friday.

Boogaard was given consecutive minors for boarding and roughing and has just three assists with 85 penalty minutes in 47 games for the Wild this season.

Minnesota did see the return of Marian Gaborik on Monday, but not yet to the ice. The rehabbing Gaborik went back to the Twin Cities to continue his rehab from hip surgery and has been limited to just six games this year. The pending free agent hopes to return to action before the end of the season.

Minnesota will be aiming tonight to solve red-hot Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, who halted 19 shots in Sunday's 3-1 win over Columbus. Luongo has now won 10 of his last 11 starts, posting a 2.34 goals against average in that span. He has yielded two goals or less in five straight contests.

Sunday's home win over the Blue Jackets was the Canucks' fifth in a row at GM Place following a franchise-worst nine-game home skid. Vancouver is 16-11-4 as the host this year and wraps up a four-game residency Saturday versus San Jose.

Ryan Kesler had the game-winner in Sunday's victory, while Sami Salo and Alex Burrows also scored for the Canucks, who posted their 10th win in 12 games. That stretch includes a 9-2-0 mark in February.

Vancouver is fifth overall in the Western Conference and eight points back of first-place Calgary in the Northwest Division.

The Canucks had won their first three meetings with the Wild this year before Minnesota's 4-3 overtime win in Vancouver on January 31, the final setback of the Canucks' franchise home losing streak. Minnesota has won in four of its last five trips to GM Place.

Mats Sundin (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
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