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Photo Credit: Harrison Barden - USA TODAY Sports

CANUCKS ARMY GDT 68 – CANUCKS VS. WILD

Remember when everyone dreaded the games that the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks played? Yeah, well imagine if the trap was replaced by udder boredom. No, not by the Wild; it’s the Canucks.

Minnesota comes into Vancouver on a two-game win streak and a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. The Wild are winning while the Canucks are spinning… downward… in a spiral.

The Canucks had a memorable game the last time they faced the Wild when Brandon Sutter returned from a lengthy injury and scored the OT winner. Thomas Vanek (no longer here) and Loui Eriksson (out for the season) also scored in that game so it’s safe to say expect the unexpected.

Let’s Do This!™

WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF

TV: SNET-P

RADIO: SN650

PUCK DROP: 7:00 PM

LINE COMBINATIONS

Nikolay Goldobin split time with Sam Gagner on the top line yesterday at practice but it’s unlikely Goldobin gets that spot. He may even get healthy scratched. Reid Boucher has returned and took shifts with Nic Dowd and Tyler Motte. The line of Jake Virtanen, Brandon Sutter, and Darren Archibald is intriguing and would be my pick for line of the night.

Jacob Markstrom has kept the Canucks alive even when they haven’t backed him up. Expect him to start tonight.

Vancouver Canucks lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

Nothing is changing with this Wild team. They’ll run with the winning lineup.

Devan Dubnyk should be expected to start.

Minnesota Wild lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Wouldn’t you know it, the Canucks have a three-game win streak going against the Wild going into tonight’s matchup. Somehow, someway, the Canucks have a good thing going against a team that has given them fits over the years.
  • Jake Virtanen is already having his best season as a Canuck and with just over a month left to go he’ll try and cement himself as one of the core guys on this rebuilding team. Virtanen has shown flashes of brilliance with his Bertuzzi-like drives to the net and Canucks fans will need something to lean on now that Brock Boeser is done for the year. Jake Virtanen has the goods to be that guy, will he deliver?
  • One season ago, Bo Horvat led the Canucks with 20 goals and he’s two back of that total having only played 49 games this season. Willie Desjardins totally misused Bo and is now benefiting from one more season under his belt and maturing through some hardship. Horvat will need to lead the charge to end this season because it can’t be all on the Sedins, it’s not fair.
  • Brandon Sutter has new linemates in Jake Virtanen and Darren Archibald. Sutter leads the Canucks in goals and points against the Wild since the beginning of the 2016 season. Tonight would be a great night to see one of those random Sutter games where he’s hitting guys, making passes and scoring goals; a trap game if you will. See what I did there?
  • Powerplays may again be the story this evening with both teams in the top eight in powerplay percentage. Minnesota leads Vancouver by 0.3% on the PP with 21.9%, Vancouver sitting at 21.6%. Any opportunity this evening will need to be killed because, on the other side of the spectrum, both teams penalty killing units are dreadful.

THE TWITTER TAKE

Far from the story of the game this evening but imagine a world where Jacob Markstrom is the NHL’s league leader in points for a goaltender. Random.

MY 94 CENTS

I’m not going to lie, there isn’t a whole lot of excitement leading up to this game. The 2017/18 post-Boeser era is well underway and it’s a dud thus far. However, the secondary storylines are as intriguing as ever and many of them should keep you watching this one. Leipsic has promise to cement himself as a mainstay on the Canucks, the wait for Jake Virtanen may almost be over and his story can finally begin, Reid Boucher is back and possibly for the final time if things go well.

There won’t be many wins to finish up this season but these three players may keep interest in the Canucks when it looks like the Canucks aren’t interested.

I’m calling for a win.

EITHER / OR

Who is more likely to score this evening: Jussi Jokinen or Mikko Koivu?     With 3G/5A in his last five games, Mikko Koivu is the runaway winner here.

Will the Canucks allow more shots in the first, second, or third periods?    Those Canucks sure are tricky but they tend to drag in the first so that would be the pick to go with.

 

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    • The scratch would be some tough love trying to get him to play every shift (even some shifts) like he cared whether he had a job. He has been a huge disappointment. He has good skill, but I doubt anyone can make a case that he should have a spot on the team going forward. Look at the difference between Goldobin and Leipsic. Goldobin shows very little effort or passion most of the time.

    • Hutton also getting scratch in favour of Bull Dog. I don’t mind Bull Dog getting the tap, but does it always have to be Hutter? From TG’s pre-game presser, he did suggest that Hutter’s in his doghouse, stating there are also undisclosed reasons why he’s been getting scratched.

  • You blind, deaf and very dumb cheerleaers really need to put down the koolaid – you really think a Pacific powerhouse like the Sharks didn’t know Goldobin was already a BUST – they made out like bandits offloading this loser and are yet again playoff bound with a proven playoff warrior in Hansen ready to step it up when it matters while Goldy rides the pine before heading to the KHL… no doubt you dreamers will soon be telling us next years Calder is a three horse race between Jonathan Dahlen, Petterssen and Juolevi lol

    • A little harsh Wise one , have you forgoten about the sequel of Full House where Mare-Kate and Ashley Sedin sign for Big money and drive the Nuckleheads to where they belong and will never see a playoff spot as long as the Creepy Uncle runs the team.

        • As much as I hate to give you any response, I assume you weren’t satisfied by simply hitting your own CHEERS and TRASH IT, and since no one was responding, now you have to even invent someone so that you get something. We have a lady who lives down the block that does the same thing when she’s off her meds. Otherwise, she’s quite nice. I can’t speak about you.

    • Ahhh Wise Canuck, I actually feel sorry for you and those others that are negative through and through. It must be very difficult to remain negative. One day this hockey team will improve and get back to the standard it set 8-10 years ago but when that happens, then where will you take you sour outlook? Its a beautiful day out, try and get out of the house, maybe talk to someone, do a good deed and you will feel good about yourself. Baby steps, you can get there if you put just a little effort in.

    • Classic troll by an keyboard tough guy warrior.

      Canucks made out like bandits on that trade and everyone knows it. They even got a pick back plus goldy.

      And even if goldy doesn’t make it… seems like we got some pretty good prospects for top 6 wingers. Only need 2 or 3 of them to work out considering Boeser and liespic probably got that locked up. Who cares if he doesn’t pan out. He’s still young though and it was definitely worth the gamble.

      Go read a book pal

      • Well, the Goldobin experiment just emphasizes the point that not all prospects pan out. Thus, the need to stop sweetening trades with picks. Keep and add. You’re rebuilding. Trade picks later to take you over the top, like a top four defenseman or… never mind…too far away to imagine. On a positive note: looking forward to the record-breaking Petterson 🙂 I could get excited at the thought of Boeser, Petterson, and, dare I dream, Dahlin on D?

        • I agree that they should never waste picks. It’s not always about sweetening a trade with a pick. Pouliot was obviously a way better prospect than Pedan, hence adding the pick to make the trade happen. Pouliot has 17 points in around 50 games for us, Pedan has similar points in the AHL for Pittsburg.

  • Sedins retire with Dignity. Erikson gone, even if we eat most of his salary. The fans will live with youth, speed and mistakes. However, if next years team looks even remotely like this years then there will be $20 tickets all year long.

    • Not sure about your Erikson idea. He’s still one of the more well rounded forwards on the team. Put him with a playmaking centre and he’ll be fine. He did score 30 goals before he signed.

    • buying out Eriksson is insane. It literally saves you $250k on a $6 million cap hit. Eriksson hasn’t lived up to his contract, but if you think it’s worth paying him $5.75 million to *not* play for the next for years, you’re out of your mind.