VANCOUVER - Darcy Kuemper survived a trial by fire on Tuesday night. The Wild decided to have the rookie goaltender make his NHL debut in Minnesota's narrow 2-1 defeat to the Canucks, a bold move since the team has struggled in Vancouver for years. Minnesota hasn't won in British Columbia since an overtime victory back in January 2009, and Kuemper — possibly free of the Rogers Arena curse — did all he could to keep his team in the hunt to snap that drought, finishing with 28 saves. The 22-year-old was recalled from the Houston Aeros, Minnesota's American Hockey League affiliate, on Monday but only found out on Tuesday morning that he would be starting in place ofJosh Harding, who was feeling the effects of medication to treat his multiple sclerosis. "It was a shock but I was very excited," the Saskatoon-born goalie said of the call-up. "I was excited to get the opportunity and it has been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the NHL. "So to get that experience was awesome." Kuemper admitted to feeling "numb" before the warm-up at Rogers Arena, but some quiet words of encouragement from veteran Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo managed to relax him. "We were stretching there at the red-line, and (Luongo) tapped me on the pads and said 'good luck, play your game'," said Kuemper.