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GAME DAY IN THE BUBBLE PREVIEW- CANUCKS VS WILD: GAME FOUR

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After dropping the series opener, the Canucks can seal the deal over Minnesota tonight and move on to the next round of the Pandemic Cup.

Vancouver Canucks v Minnesota Wild Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

It wasn’t perfect, and therefore it was the quintessential Canucks game. They spent some time looking like they were going to get their asses handed to them. They got another stellar performance out of Jacob Markstrom. They made the Wild pay for taking penalties, and did a pretty damn good job killing them off when Tyler Myers took penalties. Apparently he wasn’t the only Canuck to take a penalty yesterday, but I don’t remember it that way.

Anyway, after stumbling out of the gate, the Canucks have been slowly improving, not letting some pretty significant injuries stop them on their quest to be the most ridiculous Stanley Cup Champs ever. Quinn Hughes has picked up where he left off, running the damn power play and just setting up Canucks goals like it was his birthright. Elias Pettersson has scored the first of what should be many playoff goals, and Brock Boeser is playing a more determined and complete game than I think we’ve ever seen from him. And let’s not kid ourselves, that Antoine Roussel goal was HUGE for this team and their confidence heading into this game tonight.

And while statistically things look pretty even, or even tilted in the Wild’s favour, a team that can’t score 5 on 5 doesn’t deserve to win a playoff series. The Canucks ability to shut them down here has been a massive key in the swing from Game 1, and with the penalty kill looking a little more like the one we saw this season, and the power play starting to look like an actual deterrent again, the Canucks are starting to look like they actually belong in the playoffs. Hell, Brandon Sutter did not make it to the score sheet yesterday, but that might have been one of the best games he’s played in a Canucks uniform, and if I am saying this a) I can assure you that while it looks like I might have been kidnapped by a group of pro-Sutter fanatics, I have not; and b) it must have been really damn good. He looked like a threat all night, was defensively responsible and (low bar, I know) didn’t do anything stupid. These are unusual times, friends.

LINEUPS

Courtesy the folks from nhl.com, here’s what we should expect tonight:

Canucks projected lineup

J.T. MillerElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Tanner PearsonBo HorvatLoui Eriksson

Antoine RousselBrandon SutterJake Virtanen

Tyler MotteJay BeagleZack MacEwen

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Quinn HughesChristopher Tanev

Oscar FantenbergTyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Justin Bailey, Jordie Benn, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Tyler Graovac, Olli Juolevi, Brogan Rafferty

Unfit to play: Tyler Toffoli, Adam Gaudette, Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo

Wild projected lineup

Zach PariseEric StaalKevin Fiala

Marcus FolignoJoel Eriksson EkJordan Greenway

Mats ZuccarelloAlex GalchenyukLuke Kunin

Nico SturmMikko KoivuRyan Hartman

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Brad HuntCarson Soucy

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Louie Belpedio, Ryan Donato, Luke Johnson, Kaapo Kahkonen, Gerald Mayhew, Brennan Menell, Victor Rask, Kyle Rau, Mat Robson

Unfit to play: Greg Pateryn

Two things to watch for with Minnesota tonight. First, the status of Ryan Suter. He didn’t finish the game, and if he’s not able to go, that’s a big loss for the Wild. Second, is whether they’re going to try and change their goaltending to shake things up. Alex Stalock has been good, but don’t be surprised if Dean Evason goes with Devan Dubnyk to try and extend this series to a 5th game.

For the Canucks, there likely won’t be any changes from what we saw yesterday.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

I’d love to see some new stuff from these guys, but til then we’ll go back to their 2017 album ‘Death Always Wins’ and the song ‘Bury The Living’ from another kickass Vancouver band: DEAD ASYLUM. Go Canucks Go!