GAME: Vancouver Canucks (32-18-7-3) at Minnesota Wild (20-22-16-2).
TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.
Dan Cloutier helped the Vancouver Canucks earn a crucial win in their last
outing. The goaltender will try to lead his team to a second straight victory
in a matchup with the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Showing no ill effects from the flu that sidelined him in Vancouver's
previous game, Cloutier made 23 saves Monday night for his fourth shutout of
the season and 14th of his career as the Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche
In addition to ending a three-game losing streak, the Canucks' victory was
important because it came against the first-place Avs. Vancouver had lost five
of its previous six games (1-4-0-1) and had been struggling to keep up with
Colorado in the Northwest Division.
"We haven't played very good the last few games," Cloutier said, "so it
was definitely nice to come in here and get two points.
"I missed my last start because of the flu, but I skated this morning and
felt all right. By game time I was feeling pretty good. Good enough to go."
Cloutier, who sat out Saturday's 2-1 home loss to Anaheim, should be feeling
even better for Thursday's game after the Canucks got two full days off after
Daniel Sedin scored in the third period Monday as the Canucks at least
temporarily slowed down the Avalanche, who suffered their first regulation loss
in 13 games.
Vancouver has had problems offensively of late, with five goals in their
last four games, and won't have their leading scorer in the lineup against the
Captain Markus Naslund suffered a concussion Monday on a hit by Colorado's
Steve Moore, and was released from a Denver hospital Tuesday after spending the
night for observation. He's out at least a week.
The Canucks conclude a three-game road trip Sunday night at Edmonton.
Minnesota earned an encouraging 4-4 road tie with New Jersey on Tuesday
night, as Marian Gaborik recorded his sixth career three-goal game.
Gaborik gave Minnesota a 4-3 lead with a power-play goal at 12:12 of the
third period, but Brian Gionta scored just 1:21 later for the Devils.
Sergei Zholtok scored for the sixth time in the last seven contests for
"Well, we scored goals," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "That's what
people want. That's what we gave them."
The Wild, who traveled to New Jersey following a three-game homestand,
return to Xcel Energy Center to face Northwest rivals Vancouver and Colorado.
Minnesota is 3-2-1 in its last six.
STANDINGS (through Feb. 17): Canucks - 74 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northwest
Division. Wild - 58 points, 4th place, 20 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 30 goals, 38 assists and 68 points; Jarkko
Ruutu, 110 PIM. Wild - Zholtok, 13 goals; Andrew Brunette, 24 assists and 34
points; Matt Johnson, 134 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 17): Canucks - Power play: 16.2 percent (47 for
291), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.1 percent (229 for 263), 1st. Wild -
Power play: 14.2 percent (34 for 239), 25th. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (181
for 214), 15th.
GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Cloutier (24-16-3, 4 SO, 2.17 GAA); Alex Auld (2-1-2,
2.10). Wild - Dwayne Roloson (14-15-8, 4, 1.93); Manny Fernandez (6-9-8, 1,
SEASON SERIES: 1-1-2.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 6; 1-1 tie. At Vancouver, British Columbia, Trevor Linden
scored with 2:52 left in regulation to give the Canucks the draw. Christoph
Brandner scored early for the Wild and Roloson made 33 saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 18-8-2-3 on the road; Wild - 12-12-6-1 at home.