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Canucks-Wild Preview

The Minnesota Wild's surge has them back in the playoff picture and within a manageable distance of those also in the discussion for Western Conference wild-card positions.

They host one of those teams, the Vancouver Canucks, on Monday night with hopes of further gains while adding to a season-best five-game winning streak.

Another victory would give the Wild their best streak since taking seven straight March 14-27, 2013, and they're in position to achieve that due to shutdown defensive play.

After Saturday's 1-0 home win over Colorado, Minnesota (25-20-6) has recorded shutouts in two straight games and three of four, with three goals allowed during the win streak.

Coach Mike Yeo could stand to see some improvement offensively, though, with his team limited to 11 goals in the last five games.

"We're hammering away right now," Yeo said. "We have to keep getting better in front. It's an area of our game that we're stressing."

Minnesota's power play has been all but absent in its sparing employment with a 1-for-11 mark over the five wins, but the penalty kill has been flawless at 12 for 12. One of those kills came late in the third period against the Avalanche, during which Devan Dubnyk made five of his 18 saves.

Playing with his fourth team in 13 months, Dubnyk has been in goal for the entire winning streak with a 0.60 goals-against average. He's 7-1-0 with a 1.31 GAA in nine games since being acquired from Arizona on Jan. 14.

One of those wins came in Vancouver last Monday - a 4-2 victory to give Dubnyk four victories in his last six starts against the Canucks.

"It's nice to enjoy (reflecting on the past three weeks) on the days between games, but the reason of why we've been successful as a group is because we're just taking it by each game," Dubnyk told the team's official website. "We approach each game as its own single game that's important and we have to win and not look at the big picture. It's the same thing for me personally."

Ryan Miller, however, is also coming off a shutout against a considerably more potent offensive team. The Canucks (29-19-3) won 5-0 at home over Pittsburgh on Saturday with Miller stopping 31 shots.

"I like this one mainly because the attitude we came out with was sustained during the game," said Miller, who had lost four of five with a 3.28 GAA after the defeat to Minnesota. "It was the right kind of attitude. We wanted to have a response for (Thursday's 5-1 home loss to San Jose)."

Five players scored for Vancouver on Saturday. Daniel Sedin had a goal against the Penguins and Wild, while Alexandre Burrows recorded a power-play goal and an assist versus Pittsburgh.

The Canucks' special teams came around with a 2-for-5 power-play effort after going 4 of 45 in the previous 13 games. The penalty kill was 4 for 4 in the wake of killing 12 of 18 (66.7) and allowing at least one power-play tally in five straight games.

Minnesota has won five of six in the series. Zach Parise scored last Monday and has five goals and an assist in that six-game span against Vancouver.

Wild defenseman Justin Fontaine (groin) has been out for three games but could face Vancouver, while goaltender Darcy Kuemper has completed a conditioning stint with AHL Iowa after missing five games.

Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev has missed two consecutive contests with an undisclosed injury.

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