One day after a thrilling 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Vancouver Canucks look to make it two in a row against the Minnesota Wild.
The Vancouver Canucks shrugged off back-to-back blowout losses on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 6-3, but they’ll face an even greater test in Sunday’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.
This marks the first of a three-game season series between the former Northwest Division rivals. The Canucks visit a Wild team that boasts a superb 11-4-4 record at the Xcel Energy Center — though they’ve dropped four of their last five games.
Both clubs are in a tight playoff race, but Elias Pettersson and company could really distance themselves from the Wild with a regulation win. Vancouver sits at 52 points for the season, while Minnesota is barely hanging around with 46 points.
Sunday’s tilt with the Wild marks the fourth of a five-game road trip. Vancouver will then travel north of the border to take on the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night, before heading home for a three-game set at Rogers Arena.
Players to watch
Quinn Hughes: It’s been quite the rookie year for the 20-year-old, who was named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game on Saturday. Hughes will be counted upon to key in trying to shut down Minnesota’s top line, but he’s also riding the hot stick offensively. Hughes has a goal and two assists over his last five contests.
Eric Staal: He may be 35 now, but age hasn’t slowed Staal down in the slightest. He leads Minnesota in goals (16), points (33) and even strength goals (11).
Brock Boeser: The Burnsville, Minnesota native returns to his home state. Xcel Energy Center brings back wonderful memories for Boeser, who scored a goal in his NHL debut here on March 25th, 2017. He picked up two goals in Saturday’s win against the Sabres.
Zach Parise: Like Staal, Parise has defied his age with another superb campaign. The former All-Star has 14 goals and 26 points on the season.
Prediction: 4-3 Canucks
The Canucks will have it tough, playing their fourth game since Tuesday — in one of the league’s toughest environments. But following an excellent outing in Buffalo, it’s hard to bet against a team that’s been firing on all cylinders as of late.
Vancouver may struggle to keep up with Minnesota’s top scorers in the early going, but the Lotto Line will come through with a pair of third period goals to put the game away.