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Preview: Canucks at Wild

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The month of December has very kind to the Vancouver Canucks. After dropping eight of its last 10 contests in November (2-5-3), Vancouver vies for its eighth straight victory this month when it visits the former Northwest Division-rival Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. The Canucks extended their winning streak on Saturday by breezing to a 6-2 triumph over Boston in a rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

Minnesota continues to get the most out of its modest offense - with Saturday's 2-1 victory in a shootout over Colorado being the latest evidence. Zach Parise and captain Mikko Koivu scored in the bonus format and Josh Harding turned aside 26 shots to lower his NHL-best goals-against average to a stingy 1.49. The Wild certainly have enjoyed the comforts of home, winning four straight at Xcel Energy Center to up their mark to 13-2-2.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, RSN Pacific (Vancouver), FSN North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE CANUCKS (20-10-5): Although Roberto Luongo has famously struggled in Minnesota with a 3-9-2 mark and 3.56 GAA, he took a light-hearted approach when asked if he was going to start Tuesday's contest. "I think so. You'll have to ask AV (former coach Alain Vigneault)," the 34-year-old Luongo told the Vancouver Sun. Luongo, who was a spectator in both road contests versus the Wild last season, has yielded just six goals en route to winning all five of his starts this month.

ABOUT THE WILD (19-11-5): Mikael Granlund returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion on his first shift against Phoenix on Nov. 27. While the second-year center told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he'd like to play versus Vancouver, coach Mike Yeo is likely to err on the side of caution. Minnesota's offense certainly could use the boost, as it has mustered just 18 goals in the essentially 12 games that he has missed (5-6-1).

OVERTIME

1. Vancouver LW Chris Higgins has scored in back-to-back contests and collected three goals and four assists during his five-game point streak.

2. Minnesota D Keith Ballard was spotted talking to former teammate and current Canuck C Ryan Kesler, prompting several of his Wild mates to joke that he needs to "cut the cord."

3. Vancouver has recorded at least one power-play goal in nine of its last 11 contests.

PREDICTION: Wild 2, Canucks 1

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131217/preview-canucks-at-wild