Game #12 Preview: Wild @ Canucks

Dimitri Filipovic
February 12 2013 10:27AM


Max Lapierre and the Canucks had their way with the Wild in their last meeting. They look to do the same on Tuesday night.

"Tune in to TSN on Tuesday night, as Zack Kassian goes toe-to-toe with Zach Parise!"

"Tune in to TSN on Tuesday night to see how many times Minnesota Wild fans can vomit when reminded of Cam Barker's existence!"

"Tune in to TSN on Tuesday night to see how many different ways the Minnesota Wild can light $196 million on fire!"

Only two of those three were fabricated by yours truly, I swear. I'll let you guys guess what's real and what's not. Anyways, the Canucks meet the Wild for the second time in five days, and it'll require some creativity to get yourself (and others) riled up for this one. But we'll try.

Read Past the Jump for More on the Game.

Broadcast Info:

Puck Drop: 7 PM PST

Television: TSN

Radio: Team 1040

Setup:

If you missed last week's game between these two teams, Thomas Drance had you covered with a thorough game recap. To sum it up, it was a fairly one-sided beating. Call me a homer if you like, but I expect much of the same in this one. The Canucks have had two days to relax at home coming off the drubbing they gave the Flames, whereas the Wild came into town late last night (early this morning?) following their barn-burner of a win against those very same Flames. The game I'm referring to last night really hurt my soul. It was the definition of a low-event affair, in which both teams seemed to make their respective cases for relegation. But what should we expect from the Wild, really? These are their goal totals in 5 February games: 1, 1, 1, 2, 1. I simply can't see how the Wild will be able to generate enough offense to hang with the Canucks in this one. 

For those that haven't heard, Roberto Luongo will be getting the nod in this one. As people will be quick to point out, he hasn't given up a goal to the Wild in his last 3 starts against them at Rogers Arena. I personally enjoy that stat because it means absolutely nothing. The Wild have been a perpetually dreadful offensive team, and Roberto Luongo has a track record of being, you know, good at stopping pucks. But feel free to run with that story! After his performance on After Hours this past Saturday night, I don't think I'll ever question the Strombonian one getting the start. Until his performance falls off and he struggles at his job at least; then I'll be forced to question it.

There's not much to say about the Canucks in advance of this game, really. They're pretty much rolling on all fronts right now. It's funny to think that as recently as two weeks ago there was mass panic in Vancouver with regards to the team's performance. I guess a 5-game winning streak where you outscore your oppositon by a total of 17-5 tends to change the mood. I'm still ready to turn on this team, though. In fact, if Jordan Schroeder doesn't score another pair of goals in this one I'll be forced to view it as a clear sign that he's a bust that needs to be replaced. Who's with me?

One final note - remember when the Northwest Division was supposed to vastly improve this season? Well, that hasn't exactly come to fruition yet. The Canucks are looking for their 6th straight win against a divisional opponent (having only lost once this season, in Overtime, to the Edmonton Oilers). When you come at the King, you best not miss. And there have been plenty of swings and misses by the likes of the Flames, Oilers, Avs, and Wild this season. 

(Applaud me from refraining from referring to Minnesota's professional hockey team as the "Mild", please).

UPDATE: According to Dan Murphy on Sportsnet, Manny Malhotra will miss this game (due to personal reasons). This doesn't come as a huge surprise, considering he didn't participate in practice yesterday. Andrew Ebbett will be filling his spot. Also, the Minnesota Wild have called up Darcy Kuemper from their AHL affiliate to start for them tonight. For reference, he was the 4th goalie on their depth chart heading into the season. Proceed to make your jokes.

Numbers Game:

 

Game Day Links:

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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#1 DCR
February 12 2013, 10:36AM
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Can we say "Winnesota?" even ironically?

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#2 BrudnySeaby
February 12 2013, 12:25PM
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All good fun and all, but the Canucks will have a tougher stretch going forward with the likes of Dallas (2x), Blues, Blackhawks, Predators and Red Wings. Only then will we know how they stack up against some better Western competition. So better scoop up the points while they can. The next 2 weeks should be more interesting and should bring some mixed results.

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#3 Joel
February 12 2013, 12:33PM
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@BrudnySeaby

Good point, with that six game stretch against teams that might actually make the playoffs, I'm not expecting the Canucks to romp through their opposition like they have against NW opponents in this current stretch.

That being said, if they go 0.500 on that trip, I'd consider that acceptable.

Like Dimitri said, before the Canucks went on a 5 game winning streak against the NW division, people were panicking a bit. They'll come back to earth a bit, but I thought before the season that 0.500 hockey to be a realistic goal until Kesler is back and up to speed.

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#4 BrudnySeaby
February 12 2013, 03:28PM
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@ Joel Yeah, I feel that 0.500 on that stretch would be acceptable. However, to be a contender during the play-offs, they need to be better and would need to win 4 or 5 out of that stretch. Without Kesler that is a tall order though. And even with Kesler (and Booth back), I think they are some scoring depth (and possibly a solid 3rd line centre) away from winning it all. They have a shot no doubt, as teams can get on a roll, but they are not the team to beat at the moment. Unfortunately they couldn't get it done when they were in 2011. Sad but true. To this day I still think that it all went sideways when Rome landed that hit. It woke up Boston and gave them a rallying point. Hmm… trailed off here a bit. Sorry.

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#5 Joel
February 12 2013, 06:30PM
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@BrudnySeaby

IMHO, it didn't go sideways with the Rome hit exactly... the Canucks played the Bruins even the rest of the period and killed off the penalty as I recall.

But then Edler's stick explodes on a slapshot, and instead of a scoring chance the Bruins counter and get a goal, and then it went downhill from there.

So I blame the balsa wood that they make the Edler's sticks out of as well ;-)

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