The Vancouver Canucks will visit the Minnesota Wild in the unfriendly confines of the Xcel Energy Center on Monday evening.
The Wild, who might be the league’s stingiest defensive club when their goalies are stopping even an average rate of shots, are in the midst of a major surge. Since acquiring Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes nine games ago the Wild have amassed a gaudy 7-1-1 record, in large part thanks to Dubnyk stopping nearly 95 percent of the shots he’s faced.
For a team like the Canucks, who have often struggled to manufacture offense, this will be a major test.
Lineups and images courtesy dailyfaceoff.com
Miller starts for the Canucks, Tanev is technically a game-time decision, but is firmly expected to play.
The impossible to score against Dubnyk will start for the Wild.
Head to Head
- Wild team speed – The Minnesota Wild are extremely fast, and have the profile of a club that Vancouver has generally struggled when matched up against this season. That speed includes fast former Canuck Jordan Schroeder, who is expected to play on Minnesota’s third-line. Can the Canucks contain the likes of Zach Parise, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and Schroeder tonight? They could get skated off of the sheet if they can’t.
- Dubnyk – On the one hand – Dubnyk has been impossible to score against of late. On the other – he’s due to regress at some point, right? Making his life difficult by playing in and around the blue paint could prove critical for the Canucks on Monday evening.
- Keep the power-play going – Minnesota is incredibly stingy at 5-on-5, so if the Canucks are going to make noise, they’ll need their power-play to keep the good times rolling. Vancouver’s top power-play unit capitalized twice on Saturday night, and not so coincidentally, the club scored one of their most convincing victories of the season as a result. Replicating that performance would go a long way towards the Canucks starting off their short two-game road trip on the right foot.