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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME SIXTY-SIX: Canucks @ Minnesota- Mar 24, 2022

In the biggest game of the year, the Canucks played their best game of the year, knocking off the league’s best. No time to rest on those laurels though, there’s another giant to slay.

Vancouver Canucks v Minnesota Wild Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (31-26-8) vs MINNESOTA WILD (37-20-4)

XCEL ENERGY CENTER, SAINT PAUL, MN

5:00PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: HOCKEY WILDERNESS

The Canucks needed to steal a win in Denver last night as they begin a crucial four game Central Division road swing, and steal it they did. Jaroslav Halak played easily his best game as a Canuck in a 3-1 win, and while Halak was huge in this game, to a man the Canucks showed up and refused to let the best team in the NHL (with the best home record) roll over them.

And while every player had a game worthy of praise, it was the big names that came up big last night. Brock Boeser was a threat all night long, and it was great to see him get rewarded after a handful of chances through the first two periods. JT Miller continues to be the driving force behind the Canucks offence with another multi-point night, Bo Horvat continues to have a quietly underappreciated season, and Elias Pettersson made a number of outstanding defensive plays. Battling the altitude difference, as well as an officiating crew that was just not interested in calling penalties against the Avs, the Canucks got a massive two points, but as satisfying as that was, they’ll need to do it all over again tonight in Minny.

A win like this can definitely spark a team to go on a tear, and doing it against Minnesota, the team they beat in the 2020 play in tournament feels right. And while the Wild aren’t the Avalanche, they’re still a solid contender in the West, especially with the addition of Marc-Andre Fleury in goal for their playoff run.

It’s also Bruce Boudreau’s return to Minnesota for the first time since he left the Wild, and if you think the guys don’t want to get him a win in this one tonight, you haven’t been paying attention.

It’s a busy night in the NHL, and an extremely important one if you’re scoreboard watching as there’s a few teams playing tonight that can affect the Canucks playoff push. First up we have the Dallas Stars, who the Canucks will be visiting on Saturday. They’re in Raleigh, to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. Dallas is three points ahead, sitting in that final Wild Card slot.

The Winnipeg Jets are at home to take on the Ottawa Senators. They’re currently tied with the Canucks, each team has 70 points, but the Jets hold a game in hand. The Edmonton Oilers are five points up on Vancouver, and will look to solidify their playoff chances as they host the San Jose Sharks. The other big game is the Nashville Predators in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. Vancouver sits just two back of Vegas, and play them three times in April, so a Nashville win tonight could help set up a pretty massive set of games in a couple weeks.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, this is what tonight’s disasterpiece might resemble:

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonJ.T. MillerConor Garland

Elias PetterssonBo HorvatBrock Boeser

Juho LammikkoBrad RichardsonMatthew Highmore

Vasily PodkolzinNic PetanAlex Chiasson

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Quinn HughesLuke Schenn

Travis DermottBrad Hunt

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: None

Injured: Nils Hoglander (lower body), Jason Dickinson (lower body), Kyle Burroughs (upper body), Tucker Poolman (headaches)

Wild projected lineup

Kirill KaprizovRyan HartmanMats Zuccarello

Jordan GreenwayJoel Eriksson EkMarcus Foligno

Kevin FialaFrederick GaudreauMatt Boldy

Brandon DuhaimeTyson JostNicolas Deslauriers

Jacob MiddletonJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Jon MerrillAlex Goligoski

Cam Talbot

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Dmitry Kulikov, Jordie Benn, Connor Dewar, Nick Bjugstad

Injured: None

Matthew Highmore is listed as questionable for tonight. He left the game in the third after an uncalled hit by Kurtis MacDermid last night, one of a few that the officials chose to let slide. Though it says they’re going with Talbot here, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fluery makes his Wild debut. Talbot was in goal for the Wild’s 3-0 win over Vegas Monday night.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Last night’s game still has me pumped up, and that means we need something aggressive today, and some new MISERY INDEX will do just nicely. ‘The Eaters And The Eaten’ is off their upcoming album ‘Complete Control’. Crank this one and enjoy the game, everyone!

Go Canucks Go! Slava Ukraini!