GAME: Minnesota Wild (9-13-4-0) at Vancouver Canucks (14-7-3-2).
TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.
The Vancouver Canucks have suddenly lost their commanding home-ice
advantage, and their captain.
With Markus Naslund sidelined by a groin injury, the Canucks hope to begin
re-establishing their dominance at General Motors Place when they host the
Vancouver went 9-0-1 in its first 10 home games this season, thrusting
itself to the top of the Northwest Division. However, the Canucks have dropped
two straight in Vancouver, including the opener of a five-game homestand to
Calgary on Thursday.
Trevor Linden scored the lone goal for the Canucks in the 4-1 setback, which
dropped Vancouver to 2-3-1 in its last five games overall.
"I just don't think we were prepared to do what it takes to win," said
Linden, refusing to blame the letdown on Vancouver's four-day break after
coming off a weeklong road trip.
"We just didn't meet the challenge, there's no excuses."
Naslund played Thursday despite missing a practice this week and leaving the
morning skate early with a sore groin. He didn't return to start the third
"I wanted to give it a try, I hate to miss a game," Naslund said.
This time, the Canucks are taking no chances, sitting Naslund for this game.
"I got the choice (Thursday) night, but I didn't get the choice this
time," said Naslund. "It s tough for me because I want to play, but I guess I
have to look at the big picture and realize in the long run maybe it's a wiser
decision to stay off."
Naslund, who had a six-game point streak snapped Thursday, was second in the
NHL in scoring with 32 points entering Friday's games.
Canucks left wing Matt Cooke has missed the last four games with a shoulder
Minnesota, which stunned heavily favored Vancouver in last season's Western
Conference semifinals, suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Calgary on Friday.
Jarome Iginla scored with 22.8 seconds to play as the Wild for the first
time in 48 games when leading after two periods.