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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Vancouver

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Vancouver
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (37-24-11: 85 points, 7th in Western Conference, 4th in Central Division) vs. Vancouver Canucks (33-30-10: 76 points, 10th in Western Conference, 5th in Pacific Division)
The National Hockey League’s realignment has brought two Wild Card spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for each Conference. With 10 games remaining on the schedule, the Minnesota Wild controls its own destiny in the pursuit of the postseason, which is tighter than a pair of skinny jeans on a hipster. Tonight, the team looks to tighten its grip on the top Wild Card spot against an old foe fighting to stay afloat in the West, the Vancouver Canucks.

This is the third and final meeting between the Wild and Canucks. Minnesota has taken the previous two contests, both with shootout victories, 3-2 at Xcel Energy Center on Dec. 17 and 2-1 in Vancouver on Feb. 28.

On Sunday, the team finished off a stretch of five games in seven days. Minnesota held an optional practice yesterday, after a day off Monday, to rest up for its final push. The road to the playoffs doesn’t get any easier for the Wild, playing the first of a back-to-back tonight and four games in six days.   

The Wild seems to have found some chemistry offensively with the line of Mikko Koivu, Matt Moulson and Charlie Coyle. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo spoke to Coyle about being more of a physical presence on the ice, and since being slotted on the line, the forward has two goals in two games. The trio has been able to use their size as an advantage by cycling the puck in the offensive zone to create chances.

On Sunday, the Wild came back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Red Wings in overtime in Detroit, 4-3. Jason Pominville started the comeback with a power play goal in the second period. In the third, Minnesota got goals from Coyle and Zach Parise. Moulson scored the game winner on a beautiful setup from Jonas Brodin. The Wild held Detroit to only 16 shots on goal and Ilya Bryzgalov made 13 saves for his second win with the club.

Vancouver dug out of a two-goal deficit to win against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at home, 4-2. The Canucks got four-straight goals from Brad Richardson, Shawn Matthias, Yannick Weber and David Booth. Goaltender Eddie Lack made 16 saves for the victory. 
If You're Going
Forward Henrik Sedin (leg) is not on the trip and Vancouver is 2-6-0 without him in the lineup. Goaltender Eddie Lack has allowed two goals in his past two starts, including a 30-save shutout March 19 against the Nashville Predators.

The Canucks have won back-to-back games and trail the Wild by nine points in the Western Conference Wild Card race. Vancouver must catch and pass the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes for the second spot.
Minnesota celebrates Youth Hockey Day at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild will honor youth hockey champions during the first intermission and show teams on the video board throughout the game. The first 5,000 fans 18 and under will receive a drawstring bag presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

The Wild will wear its RED sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Pominville had his seven-game point streak (4-4=8) come to an end Saturday before opening the Wild’s scoring Sunday. He leads the Wild in goals and points this season (27-24=51), including 12 points (5-7=12) in his last 14 games and 18 points (8-10=18) in his last 20 contests.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo | Moulson |
PONDcast
Preview: Wild vs. Vancouver
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
It looks like Cody McCormick will return to the lineup tonight:

Parise-Granlund-Pominville
Moulson-Koivu-Coyle
Cooke-Brodziak-Niederreiter
McCormick-Haula-Heatley

The Wild has six healthy defensemen and they’ll be in the lineup tonight:

Suter-Spurgeon
Prosser-Brodin
Scandella-Blum

Netminder Darcy Kuemper will be back in goal tonight. Against the Canucks, Kuemper is 1-1-0 with a 1.45 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage in two career starts, including a 30 save and seven-of-seven performance in a shootout win at Rogers Arena on Feb. 28.
View From The Press Box
It's not just physical, also it's emotional and mental…we deemed that this was our one opportunity to try to put a little extra in the tank and get ready for this final push.

- Yeo on taking advantage of two days off on the schedule
Cody McCormick, Stephane Veilleux and Mike Rupp are expected to be healthy scratches. Defenseman Keith Ballard and Clayton Stoner both have lower-body injuries.

Forward Jason Zucker (surgery) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on Injured Reserve. Niklas Backstrom is expected to be shutdown for the remainder of the season. 
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
D Andrew Alberts is from Minneapolis. C Jordan Schroeder is a native of Lakeville and played two seasons at the University of Minnesota (2008-2010). In Wild franchise history, the club has finished above the Canucks in the regular season standings only once: 2007-08.



Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Canucks will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.           
 
Wild.com
Koivu Q & A | Five Takeaways at DET | 5-Hole at DET | Wild Inks Olofsson To Entry-Level Deal | Haula Feature
WildTV
Koivu Scoring Leader Tribute
PONDcast
  Wild Weekly Featuring Clayton Stoner |
Photo Gallery
Wild at DET | A Season In Hugs
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 26 '14 VAN 5 at MIN 2 Z. Kassian
Feb 28 '14 MIN 2 at VAN 1 - SO J. Fontaine
Dec 17 '13 VAN 2 at MIN 3 - SO J. Pominville
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
H. Sedin65103646+64241
R. Kesler69231841-157795
D. Sedin65142741+73843
C. Higgins72172239-123024
J. Garrison7472532-45541
M. Santorelli49101828+9603
Z. Kassian65121224-512212
K. Bieksa6942024-210211
S. Matthias69111021+12000
J. Hansen6411920-54103
B. Richardson6591120-12911
A. Edler5561319-294230
D. Hamhuis7251419+132400
C. Tanev6461117+12802
D. Booth588816+01600
R. Stanton5611415+52800
A. Burrows415914-94920
R. Diaz5211213-71200
D. Weise443912-14210
T. Sestito70549-1119610
Y. Weber42448-41012
Z. Dalpe54437-6610
J. Schroeder21336-4200
N. Jensen9325+3601
D. Archibald16123+1000
J. Welsh19101-1600
K. Lain9101+12100
F. Corrado11000-4000
A. Alberts10000+1000
P. Pelletier3000+0000
Y. Sauve3000-2000
B. Ferriero2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Luongo4219-16-69611572.38.917
E. Lack3615-14-4789232.32.915
J. Markstrom131-6-3372903.50.872
J. Eriksson10-0-063110.00.806
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Pominville73272451-11465
Z. Parise58242246+826125
M. Moulson66212546-32694
M. Koivu5693544-31823
R. Suter7373441+92830
M. Granlund6083139-12022
N. Niederreiter73132134+113821
D. Heatley73121527-161842
M. Cooke73101626+55203
C. Coyle61101424-93321
J. Spurgeon5941923+101420
K. Brodziak7361622-14501
J. Fontaine5913720+62211
J. Brodin7081119+12030
M. Scandella6731417+91801
K. Ballard45279-73700
T. Mitchell58189-32100
E. Haula37358+82300
N. Prosser44257+35402
J. Zucker21415+2211
C. Stoner62145-68200
C. McCormick37145-65000
S. Veilleux27202-31900
Z. Konopka36112-55500
M. Dumba13112-5210
M. Rupp12011+11300
J. Blum6000-1000
B. Bulmer5000-2200
C. McMillan1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding2918-7-3466901.65.933
D. Kuemper2512-7-4556782.32.919
I. Bryzgalov257-8-7687322.91.907
N. Backstrom215-11-2555463.02.899
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