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THE INTRO

Well Canucks fans, you’ve waited for this day for a long time. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think we’d get here to see the day but the postseason is officially upon us. If anyone had the NHL starting up again in August, well done. Well done.

Don’t blink in this one because this series could be over really quick and with five games, there is simply no room for error. Something to watch out for, penalty shots. The Canucks can utilize the speed they have and force Minnesota to keep up with hooking and holding. Last night we saw a handful of penalty shots so don’t think it can’t happen here.

The Canucks have a .613 all-time winning percentage when scoring first in the playoffs. When they trail first, sadly, it’s .280. You know the drill.

I’m not dropping any dad-jokes this time (I know, I’m not wild about this idea either) but don’t think I won’t have something saved up after a big win.

This is the first playoff game for a lot of Canucks players so expect to see some nerves in the first period. Troy Stecher might just puke.

COVID hasn’t stopped the Stanley Cup Playoffs from happening so let’s enjoy the greatest gift to sports.

Let’s Do This!™

TV / RADIO / PUCK DROP

SN / SN 650 / 7:30 PM

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

The odds for tonight’s game are VAN -110 / MIN -110 courtesy of OddsShark.com.

LINEUPS

The Jake Virtanen saga continues, and based on the exhibition game on Wednesday, Jake won’t play today. That being said, we won’t know for sure until puck drop. There is a good chance we won’t see Zack MacEwen either. Depending on how this game shakes out, we may see one or both next game.

We’re one bad Oscar Fantenberg game away/injury from seeing Olli Juolevi in game action, as Jordie Benn still hasn’t returned from Dallas at the time of this writing.

Jacob Markstrom will start for the Canucks.

CANUCKS lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW Forwards
Tanner Pearson
TANNER PEARSON

Rating: 73.7#38 LW

Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT

Rating: 74.8#34 C

Brock Boeser
BROCK BOESER

Rating: 74.1#41 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 74.20#26 FL1
J.T. Miller
J.T. MILLER

Rating: 78.5#7 LW

Elias Pettersson
ELIAS PETTERSSON

Rating: 77.7#14 C

Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI

Rating: 75.9#25 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 77.38#1 FL2
Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL

Rating: 71.0#97 LW

Adam Gaudette
ADAM GAUDETTE

Rating: 70.2#130 C

Micheal Ferland
MICHEAL FERLAND

Rating: 71.7#83 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.96#23 FL3
Tyler Motte
TYLER MOTTE

Rating: 68.8#144 LW

Jay Beagle
JAY BEAGLE

Rating: 68.4#163 C

Brandon Sutter
BRANDON SUTTER

Rating: 70.1#131 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 69.09#28 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Alexander Edler
ALEXANDER EDLER

Rating: 74.3#26 LD

Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS

Rating: 72.6#50 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 73.43#23 DL1
Quinn Hughes
QUINN HUGHES

Rating: 75.2#15 LD

Chris Tanev
CHRIS TANEV

Rating: 71.0#90 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.12#16 DL2
Oscar Fantenberg
OSCAR FANTENBERG

Rating: 70.9#100 LD

Troy Stecher
TROY STECHER

Rating: 71.9#63 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.42#20 DL3

This lineup isn’t exactly the greatest thing since the Discman or Micro Machines but they have a lot of veterans that know how to win. They are going to get line-matched hard which could really benefit the Canucks.

Minnesota will likely still find a way to make this boring.

It’s anyone’s guess who the Wild will put in net tonight. Alex Stalock? Sure.

WILD lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW Forwards
Jordan Greenway
JORDAN GREENWAY

Rating: 71.2#94 LW

Eric Staal
ERIC STAAL

Rating: 74.2#45 C

Kevin Fiala
KEVIN FIALA

Rating: 78.3#8 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 74.58#24 FL1
Zach Parise
ZACH PARISE

Rating: 76.3#17 LW

Joel Eriksson Ek
JOEL ERIKSSON EK

Rating: 71.6#100 C

Luke Kunin
LUKE KUNIN

Rating: 72.5#70 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 73.45#19 FL2
Marcus Foligno
MARCUS FOLIGNO

Rating: 71.7#80 LW

Alex Galchenyuk
ALEX GALCHENYUK

Rating: 70.8#115 C

Mats Zuccarello
MATS ZUCCARELLO

Rating: 71.8#84 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.44#16 FL3
Ryan Donato
RYAN DONATO

Rating: 72.1#73 LW

Mikko Koivu
MIKKO KOIVU

Rating: 71.8#93 C

Ryan Hartman
RYAN HARTMAN

Rating: 71.2#96 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.68#5 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Ryan Suter
RYAN SUTER

Rating: 76.3#7 LD

Jared Spurgeon
JARED SPURGEON

Rating: 76.1#16 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.21#5 DL1
Jonas Brodin
JONAS BRODIN

Rating: 73.7#41 LD

Mathew Dumba
MATHEW DUMBA

Rating: 74.5#27 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 74.07#7 DL2
Carson Soucy
CARSON SOUCY

Rating: 71.8#79 LD

Brad Hunt
BRAD HUNT

Rating: 72.1#71 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.97#14 DL3

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR TONIGHT’S GAME?

  • In three games vs. the Wild this season, J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat have (3) and (2) goals, respectively. Miller also added two assists in the season series so he will be one to watch tonight. Not like he hasn’t done enough already.
  • While we’re looking at who has had their way with the Wild, let’s have a look at the Calder nominee, Quinn Hughes. Quinn accumulated four assists and put up 1.33 points-per-game. Hughes was dangerous all season long and against a Wild team that will now have to throw everything they have at him to keep him at bay. That bodes well for the rest of the defence if Quinn is being focused on that much.
  • Jacob Markstrom didn’t have his best game against the Jets this past week but he had a pretty impressive training camp/scrimmage series. His 1-1-0-1 record against Minnesota this season wasn’t great and letting in eight goals in those games with a .910 isn’t the first thing that screams “brick wall”. Markstrom has fought through a lot this season and a five-month layoff will be his next big test. When he’s on, he’s on. But when things get shaky, the Canucks will need to outscore their problems. Tough to do in the playoffs.
  • It’s inevitable Brock Boeser will regain his insane scoring touch. He has battled a serious case of puck luck and with the new Auston Matthews stick/flex, Brock Boeser is the choice for player of the series. There are going to be heaps of attention given to the top line and Minnesota won’t be able to keep constant pressure on Vancouver’s top-six. This series could be a special one for Brock, it could be just the beginning as well.
  • What will we see from Micheal Ferland? Is he fully healthy? Is he ready to be a bull in a china shop? Ferland had one assist in seven games last season with the Hurricanes and piled up 18 PIM. Letting Ferland do his thing is fine, but if it comes at the cost of being shorthanded more times than not, Travis Green will need to keep him in check.

THE TWITTER TAKE

Of course, all of our summers are now ruined. Late-night dip in the pool? Nope. Hang around the fire with friends? Sorry, there’s OT.

MY 94 CENTS

The game against Winnipeg wasn’t all that fun when a Vezina-calibre goaltender shuts the door at every chance. The Minnesota Wild do not have that same luxury and if the Canucks press the way they did early on in that Jets game, they could set the tone in the series. I expect Brock Boeser to be a force in this one, in fact, all series long.

There is going to be too much attention paid to Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and that means more opportunity for the Horvat line to shine.

ONE FINAL THING…

However you view this series, winning Game 1 is massive. With a five-game series, there is no room for error after Game 2 so getting the upper hand is key. There’s more wriggle room in the regular playoffs but you have to get there first.

I have been promised an entire t-shirt line from CanucksArmy if the Canucks win this series, so I’m really pulling for the guys.

No more talk, it’s for real tonight!


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