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Here We Go...Wild Canucks Game 1

August 2, 2020, 2:11 PM ET [5 Comments]
Dan Wallace
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The long awaited return is upon us as the Wild and Canucks square off tonight in the first game of their 5-game play-in series.

This series has not gotten much hype as we have grown accustomed to with the Wild and their ho-hum reputation. Well this Wild team is in transition and they are not the same old Wild. They have a dynamic young scoring sensation in Kevin Fiala now who has game breaking skill.

We have always known the Wild defense led by Ryan Suter and the solid defense first approach that they have incorporated over the years. Yes Mikko Koivu is still the captain and as reliable as ever in the faceoff circle and penalty kill, but now he finds himself on the fourth line and a reduced role. That is both good for the Wild who have incorporated their next generation into the top six roles where they belong while extending the effectiveness of Koivu in the process.

Joel Eriksson Ek is one of the finest shut down centers the NHL has never heard of and his offense is starting to come as well. Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway have forged their way into prominent roles in the Wild offense.

Mid thirties Eric Staal and Zach Parise are still very strong offensive players and keys to the Wild offense. Parise with his relentless effort and will and determination to get to all of the dirty areas to score goals. Staal is still the Wild's top center and he and Fiala are working great together.

Minnesota has taken two of the three meetings with Vancouver including their last match which the Wild used a late goal by Alex Galchenyuk to tie the game and then Galchenyuk finished the deal in the shootout. That win was also the first in Wild coach, Dean Evason's head coaching career.

Evason has been rewarded with the full time head coaching responsibilities and the team is headed in a new direction under their new bench boss. GM, Bill Guerin is working to give Evason the tools necessary to make a run at the ultimate prize.

The Canucks are a young and dynamic team with Elias Pettersson. Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes and have strong goaltending with Jacob Markstrom. However their defense corps as a whole is a bit suspect and if the Wild can get the puck deep and sustain pressure with their forecheck they can create a lot of problems for the Canucks.

The one thing that the Wild must do is stay out of the box and limit the number of man advantage the young speedy Canucks get. If they can do that they have a good chance of surviving and moving to the round of 16.

Goaltending will be the big question mark for the Wild, can Stalock handle the number one role in a playoff series? We have yet to ever see him lock the role down in a regular season format so we will have to wait and see.

Meaningful hockey games in August...gotta love it!!!

It's always Hockey Day in the State of Hockey!!!
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