The Wild vs Canucks have been waiting in Minnesota since a 2-1 loss in Calgary to the Flames on Thursday. Vancouver arrived Saturday after a win against the Sabres that ended their mini two-game slump. The game will be important for both teams to keep with the pack in the NHL Western Conference.
Vancouver took care of business against the Buffalo Sabres with a 6-3 impressive win. Brock Boeser had two goals and has looked to regain his early-season scoring touch. J.T. Miller had 2 points and Jake Virtanen scored his 13th of the year. The game was very tight for the first two periods but Vancouver exploded for 4 goals in the final frame.
Jacob Markstrom had a relatively quiet night compared to of late only facing 28 shots and making 25 saves. He will get the start in Wild vs Canucks which will be the 3rd time this year he has played in both backs to back games. He is 0-2 in the previous two tries but it seems Travis Green wants to get Markstrom back into stellar form before the all-star break. He has looked human of lately but a lot can be credited to the play of the team in front of him giving up too many chances.
Minnesota comes in after losing to a very hot goalie in Cam Talbot. He made 42 saves on 43 shots and Johnny Gaudreau scored his 12th of the year to give the Flames the lead halfway through the second. Talbot did the rest and the Wild couldn't get anything past him in the last period. Mats Zuccarello scored the only goal while Alex Stalock made 35 saves on 37 shots.
The Wild vs Canucks will go with Devan Dubnyk in net Sunday. He is 8-10-2 with a .898 save percentage and has struggled at times this year. Part of the reason Stalock has seen as many stars as he has. Eric Staal is off to the All-Star game again this year and leads the team with 16 goals and 33 points. Jason Zucker will slot back into the lineup after being out for 3 weeks with an Ankle fracture. This is good news for Minnesota as he has tallied 12 goals and 12 assists in his 34 games.
Slow 1st Period Wild vs Canucks
Both teams Wild vs Canucks traded chances to start the game. Both Markstrom and Dubnyk were equal to the task and the game slowed down a bit. Vancouver was happy to be able to roll 4 lines to start the game after playing yesterday. Minnesota wasn't able to get their shots on net but was given a powerplay half way through the period.
A rare chance by the fourth line for the Canucks saw Antoine Roussel slipping into the net after the save was made. He took out Dubnyk and the Wild vs Canucks had the first powerplay of the game. It only lasted 7 seconds as Mikko Koivu interfered with Chris Tanev right off the face-off. The teams would skate 4 on 4 and play a bit more entertaining hockey thought neither team Wild vs Canucks could score.
Jordan Greenway was a little too aggressive on the 4 on 4 and elbowed Alex Edler. Vancouver had a 4 on 3 powerplays against a team that had struggled lately sitting at 75.8% and 26th in the league. The Canucks were able to control the puck in the attacking zone but too many passes and slow build-up shots. Pettersson was stopped twice by Dubnyk but he would see the shots all the way.
The Wild vs Canucks would be right back in the penalty box. As the Greenway penalty was ending Jonas Brodin tried to clear it from his zone and ended up shooting the puck over the glass. At 13:21 of the first period he was off for delay of game. Vancouver couldn't do anything with the opportunity as they looked terrible and couldn't break into the zone and get sustained pressure.
Minnesota would get a couple of chances late in the period but either missed the puck or shot it wide. They ended with only 3 shots to the Canucks 9 but did have 5 scoring chances. Miller, Jake Virtanen, Pettersson and Horvat all had 2 shots and Hughes lead the way with 8:28 of Ice Time.
Exciting Second Period Wild vs Canucks
What the first period lacked in excitement the second period did more to make up for it. Pettersson had an early chance but was stopped by Dubnyk. The Wild vs Canucks didn't help out their own cause as they took back to back penalties. After Jason Zucker was sent to the box for hooking on Alex Edler Ryan Suter broke Horvat's stick with a slash and Vancouver had a 5-3 advantage for 1:23. They were able to have a lot of control but didn't get any real chances. Both players returned to the ice and the Canucks were 0/5 on the powerplay.
The Wild vs Canucks would get their own 2 man advantage not long after. Antoine Roussel took his second penalty of the game with a hold on Zucker and then Tim Schaller took down Suter 200 feet from his own net. They seemed to have more urgency on their powerplay as they blasted a couple of rockets that Markstrom had to be sharp to kick out. After the first penalty ended Minnesota took themselves off the powerplay with a sloppy too many men penalty.
Both teams skated 4 on 4 with the Wild vs Canucks trading chances before Vancouver was able to gain control. Just as Schaller was coming back on the ice Quinn Hughes's point shot was tipped home by Pettersson for his 21st goal of the year. Miller got the second assist on the play and it was 1-0 for the Canucks at the 9:20 mark of the second period.
The Wild vs Canucks didn't stay 1-0 for very long as the home team answered. Minnesota rushed in and Luke Kunin shot it towards the net. Boeser didn't take his man Marcus Foligno and the puck bounced off him and into the net past Markstrom. Before they could even announce the goal in the Excel Energy Arena Vancouver would take back the lead. 13 seconds later Tanner Pearson threw it at the net and it came out the other side right to Horvat who scored his 14th goal of the year.
Vancouver was able to double their lead after some good work in forechecking by the Lotto Line. Miller was able to turn a couple of times on the boards before finding Troy Stecher at the point. His wrist shot beat a screened Dubnyk and after 4 goals in just 4:04, it was 3-1 for the Canucks. Minnesota pushed right back with pressure of their own after Virtanen took a cross-checking penalty on Mikko Koivu at 15:41. The Wild vs Canucks did everything possible but score. A series of chances with Markstrom down and out of position the puck somehow stayed out of the net.
Markstrom Shut The Door In Wild vs Canucks
The third period started off fine for the away team. Neither team the Wild vs Canucks managed a shot in the first two minutes. It wasn't until a delayed penalty against Bo Horvat for an illegal check to the head that Minnesota started to manage any pressure. They were able to get a couple of shots on the powerplay before they once again took themselves off with a silly penalty. Zucker made it 4 on 4 when he tripped Tyler Motte at 4:23.
The 3rd period was similar to the 1st in Wild vs Canucks as it was just back and forth and no real scoring chances. Vancouver didn't do anything with their man advantage and when Kunin took a holding penalty on miller they had a chance to seal the game. Still couldn't manage anything against the leagues 26th ranked penalty kill that has struggled as of late.
The second half of the 3rd period was the Jacob Markstrom show! Only facing 12 shots through the first two periods who ended the game with 23 saves on 24 shots. The wild vs Canucks turned things on throwing everything they could at the net. After stopping a flurry of shots Markstrom robbed Mats Zuccarello from in close. After some more minor chances he came up big again on Ryan Donato.
The Wild vs Canucks tried everything they could to get a goal closer but couldn't beat the All-Star Goalie. Markstrom stopped Zach Parise in close and then made two big leg saves before turning aside Staal. It was performances like this you can see why Markstrom is off to his first All-Star game. Vancouver was able to seal it late when the Wild pulled Dubnyk for the extra attacker.
Yeah, we all thought it was going to be Loui Eriksson to get the empty-net goal. He played great again tonight on a line with Horvat and Pearson. He would have to wait for his 5th of the season as the Captain would get this goal. Horvat had some nice draw weight and the puck curled into the net. Carson Soucy could have skated on to it but thought it was going wide for the Icing. 4-1 Canucks and the game was over.
New Streak For The Canucks
The Wild vs Canucks game was the second in the last two for Vancouver where the recipe for success was sustainable. After a 7 game win streak that saw them give up the majority of chances and shots they really closed things down Sunday minus the last 10 minutes of the 3rd. Markstrom was big in the 3rd period making saves on all of the 12 shots he faced. It was a nice change from the Canucks giving up 30 + shots.
Vancouver will need to clean up the last 10 minutes of the game and while they did win they can't give up 10 high danger chances in the 3rd period. Markstrom was amazing and was the only reason Minnesota wasn't able to come back and tie up the game. The question for Coach Travis Green will be to go back Thatcher Demko on Tuesday vs the Jets or back to Markstrom.
The Canucks will close out their 5 game road trip in Winnipeg where they have not had much success in the last couple of years. They are coming in at a good time as the Jets have lost 2 in a row and gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. They were shut out today to the Nashville Predators 1-0 at home.
The Wild will travel to take on the red hot Pittsburg Penguins who might have Sidney Crosby back by then. Minnesota has now lost 3 in a row and 5 of their last 6 games. They will need to turn things around and quick if they have playoff ambitions this year. They are after today's game 7 points out of a playoff spot but do have some games in hand.
This was a couple of chances in the first two periods for the Wild vs Canucks but mainly the onslaught in the third. That is way too many chances in front of your net and I really hope they thank Markstrom for when they decided to stop playing. Vancouver will also need to make some tweaks to their powerplay as they were able to get one goal but went 1/8 with the man advantage.
Highlights Wild vs Canucks
It was an exciting 4-1 win for the road team in Wild vs Canucks. Check out all the highlights here.