Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Wild

Canucks NHL Daily: Conquering the Wild; Suspensions

Canucks Vs. Minnesota

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau reminded us that since taking over the bench in BC a year ago, his team has yet to defeat the Minnesota Wild, a club he refers to as “a playoff team”. It’s a fair description, although at the moment the Wild are one point back of the 2nd wild card spot in the NHL’s Western Conference.

The latest contest between the two clubs took place earlier this season on October 20th in St. Paul. The Wild won 4-3 in overtime on a Kirill Kaprizov goal.

The Xcel Energy Center was also the site of the Canucks 6-3 loss to Minnesota back on April 21st, one that put a final nail in the coffin of the Canucks playoff hopes. Vancouver blew a 3-2 lead they held late in the 2nd period.

Boudreau’s other loss to his former team came on March 24th. Again, overtime in St. Paul, with Joel Eriksson Ek getting the game winner at the :31-second mark on a primary assist from Kaprizov.

A home loss to Minnesota last season came before Boudreau was hired.

The Wild are “a heavy team”, a characteristic that in past has been a challenge for the Canucks. We’ll see Saturday night if things have changed. Vancouver looks to build momentum having reached the .500 mark in the standings with their 6-5 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Let’s Skate !

Part of the playoff chase worth watching is the position of the 2nd-year Seattle Kraken down the road in Washington state. The Canucks have played one extra game and are six points back of their neighbours in the Pacific Division.

That said, after a hot start to the first two months of the season, the Kraken have followed up a seven-game win streak with a three-game losing streak with games coming up on the road against the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. Where will the stand after that southeastern USA gauntlet and are the Kraken poised for a recession?

By the way, Vancouver is 5-and-0 lifetime against Seattle head-to-head, that is if you don’t go back to the early 1900’s.

Kraken defenceman Jamie Oleksiak is facing supplemental discipline in a hearing on Saturday for Friday night’s hit to the head of Washington Capitals defenceman Alexander Alexeyev. “Big Rig” Oleksiak received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

As Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers can attest, part of the problem for Oleksiak came from just being too darn tall.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Pierre Engvall already received a one game suspension for “high sticking” Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi on Thursday. He chopped Durzi on the neck.

Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner was suspended for three games on Saturday, for his cross-checking of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel on Friday night when thing got chippy-town late in the 3rd period.

Enjoy the Hockey Action !!

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.