Vancouver Canucks (20-10-5)
Minnesota Wild (19-11-5)
This is the first of three meetings between the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks this season. Last season, the Canucks won the first 2 games of the season series, and then the Wild won the last 2 games with a home sweep. Currently. the Canucks lead the Wild by 2 points in the standings, but both are battling the Phoenix Coyotes for the two wild card playoff spots in the Western Conference.
The Canucks are so far undefeated in December (7-0-0). Their last win, last Saturday against the Boston Bruins, was particularly impressive as they scored 5 unanswered goals en route to a 6-2 win. Meanwhile, the Wild have won just 4 of their last 7 games, including a 2-1 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday that snapped a 3-game losing streak, though they’ve been great at the Xcel Energy Center this season with just 3 regulation losses in 18 games at home (13-3-2).
December has been a good month so far for Roberto Luongo and the Canucks. Luongo has started 5 December games during the team’s current 7-game win streak, and has a 5-0-0, 1.19 GAA and a 0.962 save percentage in those 5 games.
For the Wild, Josh Harding has won 4 out of his 5 December games, and has a 0.949 save percentage in those 5 games. He didn’t allow any shootout goals on Saturday night to give the Wild a 2-1 win over the Avs. His 0.939 save percentage for the season ranks 2nd among all NHL goaltenders.
The Canucks are still without fowards Jordan Schroeder (sprain ankle), Alex Burrows (broken jaw) and defensemen Alexander Edler (lower body).
The Wild are without forward Mikael Granlund (concussion) who has been on injured reserve since November 27th; however, he practiced on Monday and is expected to join the team later this week.