Vancouver Canucks: 3 keys to victory over the Wild

ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 24: Markus Granlund
ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 24: Markus Granlund /

After a surprise victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, your Vancouver Canucks venture to the state of hockey to face off against a tired Minnesota Wild team that played last night against the mighty Jets of Winnipeg. 

With their league mandated sabbatical rapidly approaching, the Vancouver Canucks will look to start it off on a high note with a win against the Wild. One person who will look to start the game with some fire is Brandon Sutter, who returns to lineup after being on the shelf for two months with a groin injury.

The Canucks come in with some added confidence after winning their first game of 2018 against a strong Columbus team. With scoring from unlikely players like Brendan Gaunce and Erik “Get Him Outta Town” Gudbranson, the Canucks need some their top players to step up and score.

One player in particular that needs to step up is Loui Eriksson. He has 3 points in his last 10 games. He hasn’t scored a goal since November.

Its blatantly obvious that he is not worth the contract he was signed too, but not being able to score in 17 games is simply ridiculous! The Canucks need to take a page from the Chicago Blackhawks playbook and scratch Eriksson. How he deserves a lineup spot over a young players like Nikolay Goldobin or Reid Boucher is baffling.

But all is not negative in Canucks land, as Brock Boeser continues to prove that he is destined for greatness. Being the first Canucks rookie to be sent to the all star game since Dale Tallon, it will be a good chance for him to rub shoulders with the games best. Watch for Boeser to have an excellent game since he is playing in his home state, as well as the fact he has now lost his rookie point lead to Mathew Barzal, who had a 5 point game yesterday!

Can the Canucks compete with a deep Minnesota team desperate for points in a suffocating Central Division? Will Boeser carry the Canucks to victory yet again? Can Gaunce actually score a proper NHL goal at some point in his monotonous career?

All this and more in our 3 Keys To Victory!

Vancouver Canucks

16-21-6 (38 points), 7th in NHL Pacific Division
Goals For: 116 (27th of 31)
Goals Against: 145 (26th of 31)

Lineup Notes

Bo Horvat (ankle, indefinitely)

*Courtesy of Rotoworld

Three keys to victory

1) Quick start

The Minnesota Wild played against a heavy Jets team last night. They will most certainly be tired after that match.

More from The Canuck Way

The Canucks need to take advantage and control the play. Players like Troy Stecher and Ben Hutton need to rush the puck ice and make plays.

Doing this will generate plenty of scoring chances a fresher team might not surrender. A good start might cause the Wild to take bad penalties, where the Canucks can capitalize.

The Canucks have surrended the first goal more often than not, so it would be a nice change if they were to take the play to the other team at the beginning of game. Which leads me to my next key….

2) Strong goaltending

The Canucks need the goaltenders to be more consistent. Many times throughout the year they have played well in games only to let a soft one in and ruin the momentum. With a top flight team like Minnesota, the goalie needs to be sharp, whoever it may be.

3) Special Teams

The Canucks have powerplay goals in their last two games, and need to continue to take advantage. Especially with teams keying on Boeser more, this will allow for more shooting lanes for other players.

Look at the Daniel Sedin powerplay goal from the Washington game. The Washington penalty killer left Edler a wide open shooting lane just to prevent Boeser from shooting. If the Canucks can use this to their advantage, they might actually be able to score more powerplay goals.

Game predictions

Tyler Shipley

98. 1. 104. Final. 4

The wheels are coming off this thing, and the win in Columbus was illusory. The jackets hit four posts and the Canucks got two lucky bounces. Canucks lone goal will come on the pp, Sedins and Boeser.

Alex Hoegler

2. 104. Final. 5. 98

Minnesota has gotten much better since a rough start to the season. They’re much faster and more skilled. The Canucks don’t stand much of a chance in this.

Scott Rosenhek

5. 98. 4. 104. Final

Next: Canucks should trade Erik Gudbranson to Islanders

It will be the battle of the Granlunds. Well…Mikael will score a pair of goals. I don’t think Markus scores. Mathew Barzal took the rookie scoring lead after a five-point performance yesterday. Boeser needs to get in on all four Canucks goals to tie things up. Four goals. The Flow will come motivated to play in his home state. Unfortunately, Eric Staal and Jason Zucker pick up the rest of the scoring.