Usually I look at games against the Wild with all the anticipation of games against teams like Carolina or New Jersey. They're usually boring as hell, and it takes something stupid happening on the ice to build any kind of excitement. So what a treat it was to see a game with some actual tension involving the Wild. The Canucks didn't just win a one goal game here, they did it by stretching their lead in the 3rd, then not completely unraveling at the end. They didn't give up any points to a Western rival, and it was against the best home team in the NHL. To me, that's far more impressive given their season so far than the wins over Montreal or Chicago. This was the kind of game they've been losing all damn season, and they just stood tall and said "NO!".
It gets even tougher for the Canucks however, as they take on Dallas tonight, then a back to back Monday & Tuesday in Anaheim and LA. Dallas is off to a hell of a start this year, looking far more like the team everyone thought they'd be getting last season. The addition of Patrick Sharp certainly doesn't hurt them, but with Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve, it will fall on Annti Niemi to handle the duties in his absence. The Stars have been playing both goalies regularly, so it will be interesting if 3rd stringer Jack Campbell sees any action.
Sven Baertschi will return tonight, and that means that Jake Virtanen will be in the press box. The enigmatic Baertschi might do well against a speedy team like the Stars, whereas the Canucks are more likely to look to Virtanen's physicality against the Ducks and Kings. We will know a little later, but we might just see Jacob Markstrom tonight. I would think we're more likely to see Markstrom in one of the two California games, and see if Miller can build on what was a pretty solid outing in Minnesota.
FRESH HOT LINKS
- Vrbata sees a lot of Joe Sakic in Jared McCann
- On Jannik Hansen's remarkable turn with the Sedins
- Andrey Pedan: More than just a fighter?
- The good news? The Canucks are more than likely to prove me wrong about missing the playoffs.
- The post-Wild game Provies with ya boy Botch
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Amorphis are back with one of this year's strongest releases, and I am pretty stoked about this album, having kind of forgotten about this band for a while. The Finnish metallers continue to produce solid, catchy songs, rife with melody and that touch of evil aggression that bubbles beneath the surface, keeping in touch with their heavier roots. It's made me want to see what I missed out on over their last few releases, for sure. Check out 'Sacrifice' from 'Under The Red Cloud' and enjoy the game tonight!