Wild, Canucks battle for first place
The Minnesota Wild have their eye on sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division, but in order to secure that spot they'll need to find a way to win in Vancouver.
The Wild seek to snap an 11-game road losing streak to the Canucks in Monday's huge showdown that sees the top spot for the division up for grabs.
Minnesota and Vancouver both have 32 points through 27 games, putting the clubs four points ahead of Edmonton in the division standings. Monday marks the final of four regular-season meetings between the co-leaders this year.
The Canucks took the first two, including a 2-1 home victory on Feb. 12. That left the Wild winless in Vancouver since a 4-3 overtime win on Jan. 31, 2009.
Minnesota did best Vancouver for only the third time in the past 12 meetings overall with a 4-2 home win on March 10, getting a pair of goals and an assist from Zach Parise.
The Wild have won four of five and nine of their last 13 to catch the Canucks in the standings. Minnesota's 6-4 victory on Saturday in Colorado created the tie for first place as Vancouver lost to Detroit later that night.
Devin Setoguchi matched a career high with three points in the win over the Avs, logging two goals and the 100th assist of his career. He helped key a fast start that saw Minnesota jump out to a 3-0 lead and score four times in the opening frame.
"I think the whole team was ready to go from the start," noted Setoguchi. "Anytime you can get a start like that, it's tough for teams to come back from. When you get one early, you seem to be involved a lot more throughout the game and that's just what our line has been doing. We got off to that jump early and that just keeps us going."
The Avs did cut it to 4-3 in the second before the Wild responded to finish off a home-and-home sweep. They won at home versus Colorado 5-3 on Thursday.
Ryan Suter and Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and an assist each, while Dany Heatley had two helpers to reach 400 career assists. Niklas Backstrom posted 28 saves for the Wild.
The Canucks also got off to a quick start on Saturday as Alexandre Burrows set a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a game when he one-timed a Daniel Sedin feed into the back of the net six seconds into the contest.
However, Vancouver didn't score again until Burrows' third-period tally and lost a 5-2 decision to the Red Wings. The Canucks had a two-game winning streak stopped and lost for the seventh time in the past 10 games.
Roberto Luongo gave up all five goals on 26 shots in the loss.
"It was a disappointing result tonight," said Luongo. "Their goalie had a great game tonight and I struggled out there. Just have to forget about this one and get back to work tomorrow."
Burrows' goal was the fourth-fastest in NHL history and broke Trevor Linden's previous club record of nine seconds set on Jan. 16, 1994.
Vancouver lost forward David Booth to a lower body injury in the first period and he did not return, while Zack Kassian sat out due to a stiff back.