VANCOUVER – After coming up short in Sunday’s series opener, the Vancouver Canucks will be looking for a measure of revenge tonight when they face the Minnesota Wild in Edmonton. They’ll also be looking for their first goal of this best-of-five series after being blanked 3-0 in Game 1.
Jared Spurgeon scored twice and assisted on Kevin Fiala’s game-winner while Alex Stalock stopped all 28 shots he faced as the teams returned to play after a four month layoff due to COVID-19. For the veteran netminder, who had four shutouts in the regular season, Sunday was Stalock’s first career post-season victory.
Between Sunday’s game and last Wednesday’s exhibition contest against Winnipeg, the Canucks have managed just one goal in 120 minutes of hockey. Antoine Roussel scored in the third period against the Jets. In Game One against Minnesota, 17 of the team’s 28 shots on goal came off the sticks of defensemen with Alex Edler and Chris Tanev leading the way with four apiece.
The Canucks are expected to make line-up changes for tonight. However, it will likely be much closer to game time before any tweaks are revealed. Forwards Jake Virtanen, Zack MacEwen and Loui Eriksson were all healthy scratches on Sunday and are available options for Travis Green tonight.
Green may also look to re-unite the Lotto Line by placing Brock Boeser with Elias Pettersson and JT Miller. Boeser’s lone shot on goal Sunday was his only attempt at net while Miller, who led the Canucks in regular season scoring with 72 points, managed a pair of shots on goal.
High-scoring rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes led all skaters in Sunday’s game with 23:47 of ice time in his NHL post-season debut. The 20-year-old registered two shots on seven attempts on the night.
Jacob Markstrom gave up two goals – both on Minnesota power plays – on 31 Wild shots.
For Minnesota, veteran blueliner Ryan Suter led the team in ice time on Sunday playing 23:36. But one of the strengths of the Wild defense is balance and depth as Jared Spurgeon logged 22:46, Matt Dumba played 22:00 and Jonas Brodin saw 21:57 of ice. The Wild seemed far more concerned about matching defensive pairs against the Canucks top forwards rather than engaging in chess match of line-matching. Minnesota is not expected to make any line-up changes for tonight.
Kevin Fiala, who led the Wild in regular season scoring, topped all players in Sunday’s game with five shots on goal and nine attempts. He opened the scoring just 2:50 into the hockey game blasting a one-timer on the power play through Jacob Markstrom from the high slot.
Minnesota went two for four with the man-advantage on Sunday while the Canucks failed to generate a shot on goal in their lone opportunity on the power play.
Including the regular season, the Wild has now posted three straight wins over the Canucks and Dean Evason has won both of his games behind the bench against Vancouver since taking over as head coach on February 14th.
The Canucks and Wild have met once in the post-season with Minnesota prevailing 4-3 in a seven-game series in 2003. The Wild took Game 6 on home ice and the following night won Game 7 in Vancouver.
*POSSIBLE* CANUCKS LINE-UP
POSSIBLE WILD LINE-UP