The Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild will meet in Edmonton for a best of five game play-in. With both teams matched up closely, what can fans expect from the Canucks and Wild play-in series? Who will be the difference makers on each side?
Game 1: Sunday, August 2nd @7:30 p.m. PST
Game 2: Tuesday, August 4th @ 7:45 p.m. PST
Game 3: Thursday, August 6th TBD
*Game 4: Friday, August 7th TBD
*Game 5: Sunday, August 9th TBD
Head to Head
The Canucks and Wild met three times during the shortened 2020 season, with the Wild taking the season series two games to one. Although the Wild won the season series both teams totaled nine goals aside (Including the shootout point for Minnesota).
At the end of the season, both teams finished relatively close in the standings. With Vancouver finishing ninth overall in the West with 78 points and Minnesota finishing tenth with 77 points. Both teams had 69 games played at the time of the stoppage.
Unlike their records, their special team’s play was not as similar. The Canucks had an 80.5% finishing 16th in the regular and a 24.2% powerplay ranking 4th. While the Wild finished 25th in penalty kill with 77.2% and were 21.3% on the powerplay ranking 11th.
Both teams have question marks heading into the series. Whether it be who plays, who stays hot, or who can make a difference. With this being a short five-game series these question marks could have a huge impact.
For the Canucks the main question seems to be when and if Jake Virtanen will play. Virtanen was held out of the team’s exhibition game on Wednesday and the team did not give a reason. Another thing for fans to watch is how Micheal Ferland preforms. Ferland missed most of the regular season due to concussion-like symptoms but he has managed to work his way back. The question here is can Ferland stay healthy?
As for the Wild, the question remains who will man the crease. Will it be Alex Stalock or Devan Dubnyk? Stalock started 36 games this season posting a 2.84 GAA and .910 save percentage. He also played one game against Vancouver where he allowed two goals on 26 shots. While on the other hand Dubnyk started 28 games and posted a 3.57 GAA and .890 save percentage. He would man the crease for the other two games against Vancouver, where he allowed six goals on 63 shots. Which goalie should get the call in game one?
Play-in Closing Thoughts
The Canucks and Wild play-in series is almost here and their respective fan bases should be getting pumped by this point. Although both teams may be a bit rusty to start off, fans can expect playoff energy from both sides. The Canucks and Wild have the potential to be the most exciting play-in series of all.
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