Not sure you can credit the flu as an injury, but since Steve Bernier is now out with the sniffles (or piggy cough) it hurts mentally to think of how many dings the guys have taken so far. Proof of the dire times: team PIM leader Kevin Bieksa started the season with SOB on the second defensive pairing, then with Mitchell on the first pairing, then flipped to a third line forward and now he's replacing Daniel Sedin on the first line.
You'd think this would make the Canucks the easiest team to kick around, but surprisingly they have a bit of a swagger. The Vancouver Moose are still buying heavily into Vigneault's master plan of clogging up the middle, blocking everything in their zone and making the most of their offensive chances. Boring sure, but effective: with a win tonight, they'll pull with four points of Colorado and into a tie for fourth in the West.
And Facepalm? He's become very un-Facepalm-ish with his league leading GAA (1.52) and, though untested through long stretches, has still made the big saves when necessary. He deserves a lot more credit than he's received for keeping Vancouver competitive. Rypien will enjoy a promotion to the third line tonight and we welcome back Ryan Johnson with open shot blocking arms.
As for the Wild, they may be last in the conference, but they have a hell of a goalie (Backstrom was the first star when the teams met a few weeks ago) and the league's best PK (88%). Like Vancouver, they are winners of two straight and this will be the first time Vancouver has seen Martin Havlat since the playoffs. You know what to expect when these teams meet: a low scoring, chippy affair.
Look, you stupid Bastard! You've got no arms left...and it's a gamethread. Hop to it.