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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks vs Minnesota- Feb 4/17

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Thursday's game was a pretty stark example of why many have been saying the Canucks sniffing around a playoff spot is not an indicator they're worthy of one. They couldn't handle the team to beat in the West, and have another one to face tonight as the Minnesota Wild roll into town.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild

7:00 PM PT - Rogers Arena- Vancouver, BC

TV: CBC - Radio: TSN 1040

It was one of the more forgettable games of the year, honestly. After embarrassing themselves before the All Star Break with a 3-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, the Canucks had an opportunity to back their words with action, and give the Western Conference leading Sharks a game. They uh, did not do that. Not even close. What they did was show in distinct clarity just how not ready for prime time this team is at the moment. There is however, some good news: Jayson Megna, Reid Boucher and Alex Biega are healthy scratches for the team, and that's because... Beaker's BACK!

Canucks
CATEGORY
Wild
23-22-6 SEASON RECORD 33-12-5
52 Points 71
6th Division Position 1st
Lost 2
Streak Lost 1
2.27 (27)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
3.28 (4)
2.78 (17)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.28 (3)
13.9 (28) Power Play % 20.9 (11)
78.8 (23) Penalty Kill % 82.8 (11)
52.1 (5) Faceoff Win % 51.9 (6)
8.0 (26)
Shooting % 11.1 (2)
48.7 (23)
Corsi For % 48.3 (24)
99.0 (23)
PDO 103.7 (1)

Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com

THE OPPOSITION

I think it's safe to say that the Minnesota Wild are the real deal. Sure, they still need to prove their worth in the post-season, but Bruce Boudreau has his team firing on all cylinders this season, led by the Vezina-worthy goaltending of Devan Dubnyk, and some serious offensive firepower from Mikael Granlund and one of the NHL's best stories this year, the rebirth of Erik Staal, who has been dynamite in his first season with the Wild.

With 8 goalscorers in double digits, a stingy defensive core and that wall in the crease, it should come as no surprise that the Wild have lost consecutive games just once this season, and will be looking to keep that particular streak going tonight at Rogers Arena. With injuries to just 2 depth players, the Wild are healthy, hungry and looking to make a serious run this year.

THE CANUCKS

As mentioned, the Canucks have gotten the green light to get Jannik Hansen back into the lineup, and it couldn't come at a better time no matter what side of the Canucks fence you're sitting on. If you're a draftist, this gives the Canucks time to showcase Hansen as trade bait and stockpile some much needed picks for depth this June. If you still believe this team making the post-season is a good thing, then having one of the team's true offensive catalysts back in the lineup is just what they needed to make a push through a very imposing February schedule.

Ryan Miller will get the start tonight for the Canucks, as he looks to stop their 2 game losing streak. Other than the return of Hansen, it doesn't look like there are any other changes in the lineup, and that means that Ben Hutton likely won't slot back in until they hit the road on a make or break six game Eastern road swing.

Tonight the Canucks will be honoring captain Henrik Sedin for hitting the 1000 point club the other night, so that means the Leafs will go to a shootout, keeping HNIC from televising any of the ceremony...

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Colorado thrashers HAVOK are releasing a new album soon (and will be hitting Vancouver in March!) but in the meantime, here's a pretty timely Black Sabbath cover from their last album 'Unnatural Selection': Children Of The Grave...