Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 2/12/13
A Wild Time of Year Right as the Canucks are at their hottest, the schedule is at it’s thinnest. The team is in a stretch where they play just five games in 12 days, hardly the compressed schedule the lockout created. At the same time, the Canucks have won five straight and look poised to wrap up the Northwest by mid-March. Let’s hope all this time off doesn’t kill their momentum. Matchup: Vancouver Canucks (7 – 2 – 2) v Minnesota Wild (6 – 5– 1) Venue: Roger’s Arena Time: 7:00 pm TV/Radio: Sportsnet, Team 1040 Game Notes For all the talk of the increased talent in the Northwest Division, it’s sure played out in the usual way over the first month of the season. Vancouver is on top and the other four teams are out of the playoffs right now. For the Wild, last night’s shootout victory over the Flames was their first road win of the year, proving that division is really taking baby steps to catch the Canucks. What to Watch: Minnesota Unfortunately for Minnesota, Roberto Luongo is starting tonight. In his last eight home starts versus the Wild, he’s won them all while shutting them out in his last three starts. It’s a big reason why the Canucks have won 10 straight against Minnesota at home. Roberto Luongo is starting tonight So the challenge for the Wild is go into a building and do something they haven’t done since 2009 against a team that is very hot right now. Have fun with that. Line-up Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle Dany Heatley-Mikael Granlund-Devin Setoguchi Matt Cullen-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck Michael Rupp-Zenon Konokpa-Pierre-Marc Bouchard Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin Tom Gilbert-Clayton Stoner Nate Prosser-Justin Falk Niklas Backstrom What to Watch: Vancouver Everybody will be watching Henrik Sedin tonight as the captain is just one point behind Markus Naslund for all-time franchise leader in points. Vancouver has yet to lose to a division rival in regulation, going 5-0-1 in six matchups. It’ll be a pretty big moment. Speaking of big moments, the oft told tales of Ryan Kesler and David Booth returning to the line-up are closer to reality every day, which is going to create a roster squeeze. Jordan Schroeder probably won’t get sent down which means a guy like Andrew Ebbett might want to start looking at rental properties in Chicago. Cam Barker, meanwhile, is technically still on the Canucks’ roster. That could easily change. Line-up Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows Mason Raymond-Jordan Schroeder-Jannik Hansen Chris Higgins-Maxim Lapierre-Zack Kassian Dale Weise-Manny Malhotra-Aaron Volpatti Dan Hamhuis-Kevin Bieksa Jason Garrison-Alex Edler Keith Ballard-Chris Tanev Roberto Luongo Injuries For the Canucks, just the ambiguously American duo. For the Wild, Jared Spurgeon is out with a lower body injury that”s kept out for eight games. He took the morning skate yesterday, so he’s close to returning. Prediction Hank gets his records with a couple of assists and the Canucks roll through the Wild 4-1. Game Day Tweets https://twitter.com/NWSBQ/status/301351327227854848 https://twitter.com/CanucksFIN/status/301347836103127040 https://twitter.com/provincesports/status/301340232941436928 https://twitter.com/FarhanLaljiTSN/status/301253996121845760 https://twitter.com/patersonjeff/status/301210321673150464 https://twitter.com/NWSportsBeat/status/301204393259323393 https://twitter.com/ElliottPap/status/301167960884658177 CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY ON NWSB!
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