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Schneider back in net for Canucks vs. Wild

by John Kreiser

CANUCKS (5-2-2) at WILD (4-4-1)

TV: SNET-Pacific; FS-North, FS-Wisconsin

Season series: It's the first of four meetings between the Northwest Division rivals, who get together again in Vancouver next Tuesday. The Canucks won four of the six games last season, but both Wild wins came at home.

Big story: The Vancouver Canucks' goaltending merry-go-round continues to spin, with Cory Schneider getting the start after sitting for four games in favor of Roberto Luongo. The Minnesota Wild are back home after a two-game trip that saw them score twice while losing both games.

Team scope:

Canucks: Schneider was expected to be the Canucks' starter in goal, with Luongo thought to be trade bait. But after being lifted on opening night after allowing five goals to the Anaheim Ducks, Schneider has largely taken a back seat to Luongo, who has yet to lose in regulation. He's 3-0-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average after Monday's 3-2 overtime victory at the Edmonton Oilers.

Schneider's agent spoke out Tuesday, calling for a resolution to the situation. General manager Mike Gillis is in no hurry.

"I don’t think it’s an issue at all inside our dressing room or with our team," Gillis said during a radio appearance Tuesday. "We are completely conscious of ice time and how players are utilized, and Cory is no different. But we have to win hockey games. We don’t have the luxury of ... people’s feelings, as opposed to wins. We don’t have that luxury."

One reason for starting Schneider: Luongo has a 3-9-1 career record against the Wild with a 3.56 goals-against average and an .873 save percentage.

Wild: Faced with a lack of offense, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo is shaking up his lines for Thursday's game.

First-line right wing Dany Heatley was moved to the second line with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen. Rookie Charlie Coyle, a recent recall from Houston of the American Hockey League, will play with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.

"When pucks don't start going in the net for you, you start to press more and quite often you drift further and further away," Yeo said after Wednesday's practice. "You've got to make sure you're not hurting yourself and getting back to what you want to accomplish and being strong on the puck. [Heatley] is so difficult to contain around the net, that's how his goals are going to come. We have to find a way to get pucks to the net."

Who's hot: Parise has six goals in his first nine games and scored Minnesota's goal on Monday.

Injury report: The Canucks are awaiting the return of center Ryan Kesler, who has yet to play this season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Forward David Booth (groin) also hasn't played this season. … Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) is on injured reserve.

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