Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Wild (3.18.13)
Tonight's Game is presented by RONA: proud home improvement partner of the Vancouver Canucks
|Team Record: 13-8-6
Last Game: 2-5 L vs Detroit (MAR.16.13)
Season Series: 2-1-0
Last Meeting: 2-4 L (MAR.10.13)
|Team Record: 15-10-2
Last Game: 6-4 W at Colorado (MAR.16.13)
Season Series: 1-2-0
Last Meeting: 4-2 W (MAR.10.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (13-8-6) will try to get back on the winning track and reclaim top spot in the Northwest Division tonight when they host the Minnesota Wild (15-10-2) at Rogers Arena.What You Need to Know
- The Canucks saw their modest two-game win streak come to an end on Saturday with their 5-2 loss to the Red Wings. They also fell to 1-1-0 on their current four-game home stand.
- Since getting off to a 5-1-1 start on home ice this season, the Canucks have just two wins in their last seven games (2-3-2) at Rogers Arena.
- The Wild are playing the second game of a three-game road swing tonight. They began the trip with a 6-4 win in Colorado on Saturday.
- Minnesota has two won straight games – both against Colorado - coming into tonight's contest and four of their last five overall. They're looking to string together three straight wins for the first time this season.
- The Canucks and Wild will meet for the fourth and final time this season tonight. Vancouver currently leads the season series with two wins to just one for Minnesota although the Wild could even up the series with a regulation victory.
- The Wild were 4-2 victors the last time these teams met eight nights ago at the Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota took over top spot in the Northwest Division with that win and that's where they find themselves tonight. The teams are tied with 32 points each in the standings but Minnesota holds the tiebreaker with more regulation/overtime wins.
- The Canucks did not practice yesterday so lineup news won't be available at least until after the game day skate. However, they are expected to be without F David Booth who suffered an ankle injury in the loss to Detroit on Saturday. F Zack Kassian is also a question mark after sitting out the game against the Red Wings with a back injury. If Kassian can't go, the Canucks will likely need to summon someone from the farm to fill the hole at the forward position.
- The expected goaltending match-up will be Cory Schneider going up against Niklas Backstrom. Schneider has started two of the three games against the Wild this season so far posting a 1-1-0 record with a 2.55 GAA and .909 save percentage. Backstrom has posted an identical record versus Vancouver this season with a 3.61 GAA and a .860 save percentage.
- The Canucks will be looking to extend their 11-game home ice win streak against the Wild which dates all the way back to March 3, 2009. Overall, the Canucks have earned points in their last 13 straight home games against the Wild (12-0-1). They haven't dropped a regulation decision on home ice to Minnesota since March 21, 2008.
- Canucks F Mason Raymond (1-2-3), along with Wild F Zach Parise (2-1-3) and F Matt Cullen (0-3-3) all share the lead in the season series with three points each.
Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on 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 lose sight of what's at stake. A Monday match-up against Minnesota might not have excitement written all over it but, that being said, the division lead will be up for grabs tonight and the Canucks will want to fight just a little bit harder to get it back compared to the last time they faced the Wild when they initially handed it over to them on a silver platter.
- They get Cory some goal support. The goaltender roulette wheel will likely stop on Cory Schneider tonight giving the 26-year-old a chance to snap his personal three-game winless skid. The skaters in front of Cory can help him out by giving him some goals to work with. In Schneider's last three starts, his team has only scored five goals in front of him and no more than two in a single outing.
- The power play does its job. Remember the good ol' days when the man-advantage would be the main reason the Canucks won games? Neither do the Canucks. Vancouver's dismal power play has now gone 11 consecutive games without scoring going 0-for-30 in that stretch. Saturday night against the Red Wings might have been their worst showing of the 11 games. They went 0-for-6 and also failed to generate anything on a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:16.
The Wild Win If...
- Their offence keeps firing on all cylinders. The usually defensively-oriented Wild have been winning games lately not because they've managed to stifle creativity but because they've embraced it. They come into tonight's game having tallied 11 goals over their last two outings. Minnesota has only managed to score four-or-more goals on seven occasions this season but they're unbeaten in regulation in those outings going 6-0-1.
- Their power play remains hot. Unlike the Canucks, the Wild actually know a thing or two about capitalizing with the man-advantage. They've scored power play goals in eight of their last 10 outings going 8-for-39 during that stretch (20.5 percent). They are 3-for-12 (25 percent) with the man-advantage in the season series.
- They keep getting great starts. If there's one thing the Wild have excelled in over the last little while, it's opening the scoring. The Wild have struck first in seven straight games (tied for a club record streak) and, not surprisingly, they've won five of those last seven games. Overall this season, the Wild are 10-4-0 when scoring first. The team that has opened the scoring has won all three games in the season series between the Canucks and Wild.
Ones to Watch
With Zack Kassian and David Booth both recently joining the list of walking wounded, the Canucks will require a collective effort from their remaining healthy forwards to step up in their absence. One of the players expected to lead the way is first-liner Daniel Sedin.
Daniel has been one of Vancouver's more consistent goal scorers and point producers this season, as he has generally been throughout his career, but even he has found it tough to get on the scoresheet in recent games. He comes into tonight's outing with just one assist in his last four outings and no goals in his last seven games.
The Canucks would love for Daniel to bump his goal slump tonight preferably with the man-advantage. The second-most prolific power play goal scorer in franchise history – he's nine PPGs shy of tying Markus Naslund for first place – has just two power play goals this season and none since January 25. Daniel has one goal in three games against the Wild this season, and 19 goals and 53 points in 67 career games versus Minnesota overall.
Devin Setoguchi didn't get his name on the scoresheet the last time the Canucks faced the Wild but, given his hot hand of late, you probably wouldn't want to bet on him being held without a point again tonight.
Setoguchi comes into tonight's game with goals in three straight games and five combined points (4-1-5) in those three outings. He has twice managed to score goals in four straight games in his NHL career but he hasn't done that since March 2009 when he was a member of the Sharks. He also had a four-game goal streak in November 2007 during his rookie campaign in San Jose.
The 26-year-old right winger has one goal in three games so far in the season series against the Canucks. In 21 career games versus Vancouver, Setoguchi has amassed six goals and 12 points.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.