Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 2/7/13
For the NHL Gamblers! Headline: Surging Canucks head to Minnesota looking to extend streak.  The Vancouver Canucks conclude their mini-two game road trip with a date in Minnesota Thursday night having won three straight games and benefitting from some stellar goaltending from Roberto Luongo, although Cory Schneider is expected to start Thursday. The Canucks have won three straight games to climb into first place in the Northwest while the Wild have stumbled back to a .500 record on the heels of a two game losing streak Vancouver Canucks (5-2-0-2) at Minnesota Wild (4-4-1-0) When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 7, 2013 Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota Broadcast: SNET-P, FS-N, FS-WI Canucks vs. Wild Betting Lines from Bodog Vancouver Canucks +1½ -325 -111 Minnesota Wild -1½ +270 +101 Over/Under: 5 *NHL ATS Matchup Report* The Vancouver Canucks sure don’t mind putting in a little overtime do they? They will take two points any way they come, however – shootout, overtime or on that rare occasion, in regulation time. Vancouver heads to Minnesota where they have had their share of issues the past couple of seasons – they’ve yielded five goals or more four times while losing six of their last eight visits. Based on history the Canucks will have to score some goals on Thursday night, something that hasn’t come easily for the team this season. So far the Canucks have averaged 2.44 goals per season – Daniel Sedin has just two points in his last five games and Henrik Sedin has just one assist over that span. The top scorers on the team, Alex Edler and Daniel, have just seven points in their nine games thus far and Alex Burrows has just two goals and an assist. The Canucks were an elite team offensively last season and need to ramp up in order to reach their lofty goals this season. The Canucks will look to take down the Wild on the road on Thursday night. The Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending gong-show has largely masked the offensive issues. It has been Roberto Luongo that has stolen games for the Canucks as of late despite Cory Schneider remaining the apple of management’s eyes. Schneider has a 3.13 goals-against average in four starts compared to  Luongo’s 1.53 GAA in six appearances. Schneider will get the start Thursday after Lou allowed three goals during the Canucks’ three game win streak. Luongo has a 3-9-1 career record against the Wild with a 3.56 goals-against average and an .873 save percentage making Alain Vigneault’s decision a pretty easy one. The Minnesota Wild have really struggled this season – scoring has been the culprit just like it has been for years for the club. The Wild return home after losing both games on their two game road swing, a trip that saw them score one goal in each during losses at Anaheim and Phoenix. The Wild have scored just 21 goals in nine games this season for a 2.22 per game average. Zach Parise has six goals in his first nine games and scored Minnesota’s goal on Monday and Dany Heatley has four goals. The next best is Mikko Koivu with just two goals on the season. Defensively, Minnesota has been typically OK, but that means nothing if the team can’t score. The Wild have given up 2.67 goals per game this year and Nik Backstom has a 2.45 GAA and .915 save percentage. Dave’s Won’t Cost You Anything Free Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider: • VAN are 39-12 in their last 51 vs. Northwest. • Under is 13-4-4 in VAN last 21 vs. Northwest. • Under is 12-4-6 in VAN last 22 road games. • MIN are 19-42 in their last 61 overall. • VAN are 7-2 in the last 9 meetings. • Home team is 16-5 in the last 21 meetings. Two teams struggling to score take to the ice Thursday night, but only one is playing well ahead of the contest – the Vancouver Canucks. I think they rally in front of Cory Schneider and ride the emotion of an overtime goal scored by Chris Tanev against Edmonton. That goal could be the spark that many Canucks fans were looking for. Canucks erase a sketchy history in Minnesota! Free NHL Pick: Canucks -111 CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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