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Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild

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GAME: Vancouver Canucks (2-1-1) at Minnesota Wild (2-1-1).

TIME: Friday, 8 p.m. EDT.

The Vancouver Canucks are stuck in the Twin Cities, and it's not because of an early snow storm.

Thanks to the NHL's new schedule format, the Canucks will play their second of back-to-back games against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

In the hope of rekindling old rivalries and adding fuel to new ones, the league has put together an unconventional schedule in which division foes will meet more often, including back-to-back games in the same building.

While the Canucks and Wild aren't a storied rivalry, they do have a history. Minnesota's 6-0 win on Wednesday was the rebirth of what had become a bitter rivalry before the NHL shut down for a season in a labor dispute. An intense seven-game playoff series in 2003 and several brawl-filled games during the regular season instantly made the Canucks the Wild's chief rival.

Even with a year off, the nastiness was still there Wednesday, and it was no surprise that Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi was right in the middle of it. Bertuzzi, who missed 17 months after being suspended for a vicious cheap shot on Colorado's Steve Moore that left him with a concussion and broken bones in his neck, tussled with Minnesota's Alex Henry in the second period.

"It just happened," Henry said. "That's what these games are about. We've got a little rivalry going on. It's good."

Matt Foy scored the first two goals of his career and Dwayne Roloson made 33 saves to lead the Wild to their sixth straight home win dating to March 28, 2004.

Foy, who was called up from Houston of the AHL before the season began, has impressed coach Jacques Lemaire with his tireless work ethic and energy.

"He does that every shift since we called him up," Lemaire said. "He's a guy that has million-dollar legs and he gets going."

Marc Chouinard scored his fourth of the season and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on a penalty shot in the third as the Wild handed the Canucks their first loss.

"They had a lot of jump at the start of the game and they didn't let us have the puck," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said.

The Wild have taken advantage of the league's new rules, converting a league-leading 31.6 percent on the power play. Minnesota has also excelled in short-handed situations, killing off 26 of 27 power plays in the first four games.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 12): Canucks - 5 points, 2nd place (tied), 1 PB, Northwest Division. Wild - 5 points, 2nd place (tied), Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Markus Naslund, 4 goals; Sami Salo, 4 assists; Naslund and Salo, 5 points; Bertuzzi, 13 PIM. Wild - Chouinard, 4 goals; Bouchard, 4 assists and 5 points; Wes Walz and Henry, 11 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 12): Canucks - Power play: 10.3 percent (3 for 29), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 72.7 percent (16 for 22), 28th. Wild - Power play: 31.6 percent (6 for 19), 1st. Penalty killing: 96.3 percent (26 for 27), 2nd.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Dan Cloutier (1-1-1, 0 SO, 3.59 GAA); Alex Auld (1-0-0, 0, 2.00). Wild - Roloson (2-1-0, 1, 1.68); Manny Fernandez (0-0-1, 0, 1.90).

SEASON SERIES: Wild, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Wednesday; Wild, 6-0. At Minnesota, the Wild were 4-for-5 on the power play and won 41 of 64 faceoffs. The Canucks went 0-for-8 with the man advantage.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 0-1-1 on the road; Wild - 2-0-0 at home.


Associated Press
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