The streaking Vancouver Canucks will take aim at a fourth straight victory when they visit the Minnesota Wild for a Northwest Division clash Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.
In addition to winning three games in a row, the Canucks are 5-1-1 since beginning the lockout-shortened season with consecutive losses.
Roberto Luongo started the last four games in net for Vancouver, but Cory Schneider expects to get the call in net in Minnesota. Schneider entered this season as the No. 1 option over Luongo, who has been the subject of incessant trade rumors over the last several months.
Schneider, who signed a three-year, $12 million deal with Vancouver in the offseason, hasn't played since starting a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Jan. 27. He is 2-2 with a 3.13 goals against average this season compared to Luongo, who is 3-0-2 with a 1.53 GAA.
However, Schneider does have better career numbers against Minnesota, going 5-3-0 with a 2.03 GAA in nine lifetime tilts versus the Wild.
Luongo made 23 saves in Vancouver's most recent win, a 3-2 overtime victory Monday night in Edmonton. Christopher Tanev scored the first goal of his career with 19.3 seconds left in the extra session to help the Canucks overcome an early 2-0 deficit for the win.
"I was able to come in off the blue line and I shot it. I think one of our guys screened the goalie and it went in. I'm pretty happy," Tanev said of the goal.
Jannik Hansen had a goal and an assist while Kevin Bieksa also scored for the Canucks.
The victory improved Vancouver's road record this season to 2-1-1.
The Wild began the season with consecutive wins, but have gone 2-4-1 since. Minnesota is coming off back-to-back regulation losses and scored a total of two goals in those setbacks.
After dropping a 3-1 decision in Anaheim on Friday, the Wild were handed a 2-1 setback Monday night at Phoenix. Martin Hanzal netted the winner in the second period and Mike Smith stopped 21 shots to lead the Coyotes.
Zach Parise scored the 200th goal of his career in the loss, while Niklas Backstrom made 32 saves for the Wild.
Minnesota hopes to build some momentum in Thursday's home game. The Wild are 4-1-0 as the host this season.
Vancouver won four of six meetings against the Wild in 2011-12 and has taken 14 of 20 overall in the series. Minnesota has won six of the last eight encounters in St. Paul.