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Wild-Canucks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Minnesota Wild (33-33-7) at Vancouver Canucks (40-28-6).

TIME: Friday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks hope to strengthen their tenuous hold on a playoff spot in the Western Conference as they host the Minnesota Wild for a second straight game.

Anson Carter scored a power-play goal with 6.1 seconds left to give the Canucks a 2-1 victory Wednesday, their fourth win in five games. The victory allowed Vancouver to move into a tie with Anaheim for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Edmonton's victory over Los Angeles Thursday night then created a three-way tie between the Canucks, Mighty Ducks and Oilers for the final playoff spots in the West.

The Canucks had failed to put a shot on goal during four previous power plays Wednesday, but after Minnesota's Mikko Koivu went off for hooking with 1:34 remaining, Carter easily converted a cross-crease pass by Daniel Sedin for his 30th goal and the game-winner.

"I didn't know how much time was left," said Sedin, who also scored for the Canucks. "It was nice to look up at the scoreboard after the goal and see 6 seconds left.

Vancouver is 3-4-1 at home since the Olympic break, though all three wins have come in the last week. This game concludes a five-game homestand.

The Canucks are one of seven teams competing for either the Northwest Division title or one of the final four playoff berths in the Western Conference. After this game, Vancouver will play all of its seven games remaining against those six other teams.

"We want to knock these guys out of the playoffs," Wild forward Wes Walz said. "We have a good rivalry with this team and we're not going to fold up our tents and pack it up. We're going to play hard all the way through."

Minnesota has fallen out of the playoff chase with a 4-8-2 record since the Olympics.

Brian Rolston scored Minnesota's lone goal, extending his points streak to five games. He has seven goals and five assists in the last nine contests.

The Wild have lost five of their last seven games, scoring more than two goals in that span only in a 3-1 win March 21 over Calgary and a 3-2 victory Tuesday at Edmonton.

Minnesota is 2-4-1 against the Canucks this season, though both clubs have scored 18 goals. The Wild have posted four losses and three ties in Vancouver since their last win at GM Place on Dec. 7, 2002.

STANDINGS: Wild - 73 points, 5th place, 15 PB, Northwest Division. Canucks - 86 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Marian Gaborik, 33 goals; Rolston, 44 assists and 76 points; Derek Boogaard, 146 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund and Carter, 30 goals; Henrik Sedin, 53 assists; Naslund and Henrik Sedin, 71 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 124 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Wild - Power play: 17.3 percent (71 for 410), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.7 percent (341 for 389), 1st. Canucks - Power play: 17.9 percent (86 for 480), 16th. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (381 for 464), 16th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Fernandez (27-16-6, 1 SO, 2.31 GAA); Josh Harding (no NHL record). Canucks - Alex Auld (32-22-4, 0, 2.91); Mika Noronen (1-3-0, 0, 4.16).

SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 5-2.

LAST MEETING: March 29; Canucks, 2-1. At Vancouver, B.C., Fernandez stopped 29 shots for the Wild, who failed to score a power-play goal for the third straight game.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 13-18-5 on the road; Canucks - 23-9-4 at home.

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