Canucks gameday: Game 2 preview vs. the Minnesota Wild

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 02: Jared Spurgeon #46 of the Minnesota Wild collides with Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game One of the Western Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 02, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 02: Jared Spurgeon #46 of the Minnesota Wild collides with Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game One of the Western Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 02, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Vancouver Canucks dropped their first game to the Minnesota Wild in a shutout loss, but look to bounce back with possible line changes for game 2.

The Vancouver Canucks received a wake-up call on Sunday night when they were defeated by Alex Stalock and the Minnesota Wild. Despite a great effort by Elias Pettersson, he and the rest of his team failed to produce much offense, scoring no goals after firing 28 pucks on net.

Vancouver appeared to be ready for playoff hockey right out of the gate. The energy was most definitely there, the intensity was high, hits were being laid out left right and center, but a lack of experience in their core players began to show as the game wore on. The Canucks just couldn’t get to the net. Only six forwards registered a shot, the rest came from the blueline.

The defense was exposed in the first and third, often being hemmed inside their own end leaving Jacob Markstrom to deal with the final shot. He let in a couple of soft goals he would probably want back, but overall he kept his team in the game. A few stunning stops kept the score close, but with no finish to the Canucks game at the other end of the ice, the game was over almost as soon as it started.

Choosing aged veteran penalty killers (Brandon Sutter, Jay Beagle) over young and hungry goal scorers (Jake Virtanen, Zack MacEwen) proved to be a costly mistake made by head coach Travis Green. A scoreless game after five seasons with no playoffs is simply unacceptable and he should seriously consider multiple line changes ahead of game 2.

Players to watch

Brock Boeser: He played just under 19 minutes in game 1, registered just a single shot on net, but had some good scoring chances. He’s dying to get back on the scoresheet and once he does, the Minnesota Wild better watch out. Things aren’t exactly going great for him on line 2, so don’t be surprised if you see the lotto line back together.

Kevin Fiala: If you’re a Wild fan, you couldn’t have asked for much more in game 1. He’s the hottest player in the NHL over the past 15 games, and he’s leading the Wild versus the Canucks. He’s got the best of Pettersson so far, and he’ll be hungry to keep that trending in his direction. Vancouver needs to find a way to shut him down.

Micheal Ferland: For the people worried about Ferland’s head, stop right there. He did everything a real playoff hockey player does in game 1 except score. He annihilated Marcus Foligno in a bloody fight of fists, laid the body on his opponents five different times, and was an absolute pest to play against. He was 2015 Ferland all over again. Look for him to continue hitting hard and making a difference.

Alex Stalock: He was lights out and the better goalie to start the series. Nothing was getting past him, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep it up. His glove was working magic through multiple screens and point shots, but if the Canucks can drive the puck to the net things can change in a hurry.

Prediction: 5-1 Canucks

Vancouver will do anything to win game 2. Travis Green could possibly tinker his lineup a few different ways, and I fully expect him to not only juggle his lines a bit but to also insert Virtanen, MacEwen, or both players.

Next. Canucks: Ferland proves why he's in the lineup. dark

On top of making edits to the bottom-six, the Canucks core will be looking to make an impact. Pettersson, Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and Bo Horvat all need to step up their game. The Canucks are counting on them to rise above and find a way to win.