Canucks out for revenge vs. Wild
The Vancouver Canucks were blown out earlier this week by the Minnesota Wild, but Roberto Luongo and his teammates have enjoyed more success against their Northwest Division rivals at home.
Luongo will try to earn his first win in five starts Friday night when the Canucks try to win their fifth straight home meeting against the Wild.
Vancouver (2-3-2) lost 6-2 at Minnesota (3-2-1) on Tuesday as Luongo was pulled after two periods after allowing all six goals on 18 shots. It marked the second-highest total of goals he has allowed in a game over the last two seasons.
Coach Alain Vigneault went right back to Luongo on Wednesday. The goalie had 31 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss at Chicago, falling to 0-3-1 with a 4.02 goals-against average in his last four starts.
"I wasn't very happy with myself (Tuesday)," Luongo told the Canucks' official web site. "I was happy that Alain put me in tonight so I could bounce back right away."
Luongo is 3-9-2 in Minnesota for his worst loss total in a visiting arena. He's posted a 2.23 GAA in winning the Canucks' last four home games against the Wild, who have lost by one goal in their last three visits to Rogers Arena.
The Canucks will have to do a better job on the penalty kill as the Wild have been outstanding on the power play, scoring on all three chances Tuesday. Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist on the power play, and has eight points with the man advantage for the season.
The Wild are 12 for 27 on the power play in 2010-11.
"I think our execution coming through the neutral zone has been very good," coach Todd Richards said. "So our entries are cleaner, and we don't have to give up possession of the puck."
Tuesday's game was memorable for Vancouver enforcer Rick Rypien grabbing a fan in the stands and drawing an indefinite suspension for his actions.
Canucks winger Daniel Sedin has seven goals and three assists this season and has 17 and nine during a 17-game point streak in the regular season. Henrik Sedin has nine assists to match Colorado's John-Michael Liles for the league lead.
Kyle Brodziak scored two goals and Guillaume Latendresse scored on the power play in a three-goal first period in Minnesota's 4-2 win at Edmonton on Thursday. Niklas Backstrom made 34 saves and helped the Wild hold the Oilers to two goals in 10 power-play chances.
"It was a real team effort there," Richards said. "When you are killing that much, you end up having to use a lot of guys. There were all very effective in what they did, and it was the difference in the game."
Backstrom is expected to rest for the first time, with Jose Theodore set to make his Minnesota debut. Theodore signed with the Wild on Oct. 1, and is 19-0-2 with a 2.55 GAA in 22 regular-season starts since his last regulation loss at Tampa Bay on Jan. 12 with Washington.
Theodore is 5-1-0 with a 2.15 GAA in his last six starts against the Canucks.
Vancouver remains without defensemen Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard. Hamhuis has missed the last two games with a foot injury and Ballard the last three with a concussion.