Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Wild (2.7.13)
|Team Record: 5-2-2
Last Game: 3-2 OT/W at Edmonton (FEB.04.13)
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Meeting: 0-2 L (MAR.19.12)
|Team Record: 4-4-1
Last Game: 1-2 L at Phoenix (FEB.04.13)
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Meeting: 2-0 W (MAR.19.12)
The Canucks (5-2-2) will turn to Cory Schneider to help them sweep their two-game road trip tonight when they battle the Zach Parise and the new-look Wild (4-4-1).What You Need to Know
- The Canucks are looking to extend their win streak to a season-high four straight games. They are also looking to win consecutive games on the road for the first time this season.
- The Wild are coming off back-to-back regulation losses for the second time this season. They are looking to avoid equaling their longest winless streak at the season at three games.
- The Canucks won four of the six head-to-head meetings against the Wild in last year's season series but they lost two of the three games they played at the Xcel Energy Center and were out-scored by a combined 9-6 score there.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider will pick up his fifth start of the season tonight. He hasn't seen any game action since two Sundays ago in a 4-1 road loss to the Sharks.
- The Canucks last visit to the Xcel Energy Center on March 19 – also their last head-to-head meeting against the Wild – resulted in a 2-0 loss. Schneider was nearly perfect that night stopping 32 of 33 shots.
- Canucks G Roberto Luongo, who will be the back-up tonight, posted two shutouts in two starts against the Wild last season stopping all 61 shots he faced. Both of his starts came at Rogers Arena.
- Canucks F Daniel Sedin led all players in the season series last year with three goals and 10 points.
- Canucks F Jordan Schroeder, a native of Prior Lake, Minnesota, will play at the Xcel Energy Center for the first time as an NHLer tonight although he's had plenty of experience playing there in the past while with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
- The Wild are expected to shake up their lines taking Heatley off the top unit alongside Parise and Koivu and moving rookie Charlie Coyle up in his spot. Heatley would drop down to play with Bouchard and Cullen.
- Ex-Ranger F Mike Rupp is expected to make his Wild debut tonight. He was acquired by the Wild on Monday in exchange for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. Rupp is joining his sixth NHL team following previous stops in New Jersey, Phoenix, Columbus, Pittsburgh and New York.
Tonight's game faces off at 5 pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They don't fall behind. Monday's valiant comeback was the first time this season the Canucks have managed to win a game in which they trailed. They won't want to necessarily repeat that formula to victory again. Last season, they were 17-22-6 in games where they fell behind at any point.
- The power play makes an impact. It may sound like a broken record but Vancouver really does need their man-advantage to get back on track. They've scored just one goal on their last 23 opportunities over the last five games now after Monday's 0-for-4 effort. Last season, a fair bit of their offensive success against the Wild was due to the power play which clicked five times on 17 opportunities.
- They expose Ryan Suter. The ex-Predator signing has struggled in his own end and has a team-worst minus-seven rating. He's been on the ice for at least one goal against in seven of nine games played this season.
The Wild Win If...
- They get back to shooting the puck. The Wild are 3-1-1 this season when out-shooting their opponents versus being 1-3-1 when they've been out-shot. They've been out-shot in three straight games and five of their last six games overall.
- Someone besides the top line gets in on the scoring. Minnesota's top trio of Parise, Koivu and Heatley has combined for 12 of the team's 20 total goals. The Wild seem to agree that they need to spread the offense around as well judging by the fact they're expected to break up the big-three tonight.
- Get to Schneider early. The Canucks' netminder might be a bit rusty having not had any game action in close to two weeks. Schneider went 2-2-0 last season against Minnesota with a 2.47 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
Ones to Watch
By most accounts Jannik Hansen has been off to a strong start this season in his role as a third-line winger so it was nice to see him finally rewarded on the scoreboard on Monday with a tally that served to spark the Canucks' come-from-behind win in that game. The goal was his first of the season and snapped a three-game point drought.
Hansen's strong start isn't such a big surprise seeing as how he was one of the few Canucks to play competitively during the lockout. He suited up in 20 games with Tappara Tampere of the Finnish Elite League where he netted seven goals and 17 points.
The 26-year-old will be looking to post points in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Last year, he notched two goals and three points in six games played against the Wild. In 18 career games versus Minnesota, he has amassed three goals and nine points.
The Wild certainly felt like they hit the jackpot this off-season when they landed the two biggest names on the open market, one of them being former Devils captain Zach Parise.
It's easy to see why they felt that way especially with Parise. The 28-year-old is one of the league's most dynamic offensive stars and that's really saying something considering he had spent his entire career prior to this season playing under the stifling defensive system of the New Jersey Devils – a team he guided all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last year.
The Minneapolis-native is off to a hot start as a Wild netting a team-leading 10 points in nine games playing mostly alongside Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley on their top line. Tonight will be just his sixth career game against the Canucks. He has one goal and one assist in five previous career outings versus Vancouver.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at email@example.com.