The Vancouver Canucks will conclude a five-game road trip on Thursday with a clash against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Canucks will head home for a Saturday night showdown against the Flames at Rogers Arena following this one. They haven’t hosted a game since a January 27 contest against the St. Louis Blues, which resulted in a win for the Canucks.
It was their third straight, and they added a fourth and then a fifth in San Jose and Brooklyn. The Hurricanes and Bruins were able to ruin the fun, though they were able to grab a point in the OT loss versus the Hurricanes. Every point matters to the Canucks, who continue to battle in the Pacific Division for top honours, a place they are currently in possession of.
Heading into Thursday, the Canucks are atop the division with a record of 30-19-5 and 65 points. They are leading the Oilers by three points, along with the Golden Knights and Coyotes by four points. A bit further back, the Flames are the No. 5 team in the division with 60 points, so there isn’t much room for anyone to breathe in the Pacific.
Vancouver will play their next six games at home, so that should help give them an added boost. In March, the Canucks will be in Vancouver for nine games. That should help give them a bit of an advantage, along with the fact that they’re currently up on the pack. If they do not find success in the playoffs this season, the future still looks bright for the Canucks. The majority of their core is young and just getting going. You could see this team coming together two years ago, and the emergence of Elias Pettersson was able to bring the Canucks to the next level.
There is still another level or two for the Canucks to advance. Competing for the division and the playoffs is one step they’ve gotten to and now a deep push in the playoffs is the next level. It could happen this season, but they should be in a position to do it within the next two years. The Canucks will take on a Wild team who are coming off a 3-2 win against the Blackhawks in overtime on Tuesday.
They desperately needed the bonus point, though they’re on life support. Minnesota goes into Thursday night with a record of 24-22-6 as they try to keep up in the Central Division. While it’s unlikely the Wild reach the playoffs, 54 points is enough to give them room to go on a late run. Head below for our free Canucks vs. Wild pick.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild Betting Odds:
Canucks vs. Wild Prediction:
The Wild have had an up and down season. They look like a major contender some nights, and then equally look lost half of the time. Their 7-0 win over the Dallas Stars prior to the break, and then losing 6-1 against the Bruins on Saturday night is a perfect example of how hot and cold the Wild have been this season. Fortunately for the Wild, most of their coldest games came early in the season. Bruce Boudreau was feeling the pressure behind the bench, though he was able to save his job, at least for now. If they keep treading water and don’t improve on their near .500 record, it’s tough to see Boudreau surviving anyway in the offseason, though.
The one thing going for the Wild this season has been their effort at home in Minnesota. It’s been a tough arena to go into and win. That said, the Bruins made it look easy on Saturday, as they steamrolled the Wild for an easy 6-1 victory. Despite the loss, though, the Wild still own a solid record of 15-7-4 at home.
Conversely, they’ve been way off the mark on the road, with a record of 9-15-2. The same goes for the Canucks, who have been almost unbeatable at home, but have been vulnerable away from Rogers Arena. The Canucks will fortunately go home following this game for a six-game homestand. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Pacific who are trying to catch the Canucks.
Vancouver’s numbers drop considerably on the road as opposed to their overall footprint. The Canucks have been impressive on the year with 3.22 goals per game and 2.98 goals per game, but their offence and defence goes in the tank on the road. Note that the Canucks have scored just 2.86 goals per game compared to 3.38 goals against away from British Columbia.
Meanwhile, the Wild see a nice increase at home, with 3.23 goals scored per game versus 2.88 goals against at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild are winners in three of their last five meetings against the Canucks, though are coming off a 4-1 loss in January. Having said that, I think the Canucks are going to be looking forward to getting back home tonight, and lose concentration against a team that can be sneaky good at home in Minnesota. Consider a look at the Wild in this spot.