A win in their most recent meeting with the Vancouver Canucks seemed to get the Minnesota Wild back on track. Minnesota hopes to have just as easy a time beating Vancouver as it did one month ago when the Northwest Division rivals meet on Wednesday.
The Wild had lost three in a row overall and a franchise-record 11 straight on the road heading into their game at Vancouver on Jan. 11. Minnesota took a two-goal lead less than 13 minutes into the contest, and went on to win 5-2 as Marian Gaborik scored two goals in his third game after missing 2 1/2 months with a groin injury.
Gaborik has stayed hot with 12 goals and six assists over the last 14 games, leading the Wild to a 10-3-1 mark.
Gaborik had two-power play goals and an assist on Saturday as Minnesota (31-22-4) won for the fifth time in six games, 5-4 over Carolina. Linemate Pavol Demitra added a goal and two assists, giving him 10 points during his current six-game point streak.
"We were moving the puck quick and on the tape," Gaborik told the team's official Web site. "We scored two goals (on the power play) but we have to keep it up."
Coach Jacques Lemaire hinted Gaborik and Demitra were not as focused as they needed to be on the defensive end, and that was one reason the Wild nearly blew a 4-1 lead.
"Even though you get a lead, I sensed that our guys tried to be a little too fancy with the puck," Lemaire said. "We turned the puck over, and we brought them back in the game."
Lemaire hopes to have leading scorer Brian Rolston back for this contest after he's missed the last three games with a stomach virus. Rolston, who has 25 goals and 46 points, has four goals and four assists in five meetings with Vancouver (31-21-4) this season.
The Wild have won four of those matchups, and have won four in a row at home over the Canucks since Oct. 25, 2005. The teams also meet twice in March as their three-way battle with Calgary for the division title continues.
Vancouver has alternated wins and losses in its last eight games, going 4-2-2.
Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison scored 10 seconds apart in the second period to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 win over Atlanta on Saturday.
"I think we played a lot better than the result indicated," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "They didn't have much throughout the whole game except a couple of power plays. We were really playing well, disciplined, within the system."
Luongo, who finished with 27 saves, has a 2.23 goals-against average while starting each of Vancouver's last eight games. In his last eight starts on the road, Luongo is 7-1-0 with a 1.63 GAA.
Wins against Minnesota, however, have been harder to come by. Luongo has won just twice in 11 starts against the Wild.
Morrison scored twice on Saturday after having only one goal in his previous 12 games. Naslund has three goals and six assists over his last seven games.