The NHL is set up with another six game slate on Tuesday. All six games will be qualifying round matchups, which should lead to a lot of intense games. One of these matchups will be between the Minnesota Wild and the Vancouver Canucks. These two teams will meet in Game 2 of their best of five series. The puck will drop at around 10:45 PM Eastern time on USA.
The Wild earned a record of 35-27-7 throughout the regular season before the pause. That was good enough to earn Minnesota the tenth seed in the Western Conference. The Wild won six of their last eight games before the pause and carried that momentum into this series. Minnesota was able to take the first game of the series over the Canucks.
Vancouver posted a record of 36-27-6 this season, which earned them the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The Canucks hit a bit of a dry spell before the season came to a halt, losing five of their last seven games. Vancouver struggled heavily in the first game of this series, falling down 1-0. The Canucks will look to bounce back to avoid a dreaded 2-0 series deficit.
These two teams earned really similar record throughout the season, which has them meeting up in the qualifying round of the playoffs. Minnesota took the upset in Game 1 and will look to earn a strong 2-0 series stranglehold. The Canucks will need to get their offense going if they want to avoid having to come back even further.
The first game of the season series between these teams was on January 12 in Minnesota. Bo Horvat scored two goals, while J.T. Miller earned two assists to help give the Canucks a nice win. Jacob Markstrom stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced in route to a solid 4-1 win for Vancouver.
The second game of the season series stayed in Minnesota on February 6. J.T. Miller and Antoine Roussel tallied up some goals for the Wild, but it was not enough. Kevin Fiala and Brad Hunt both had a goal and an assist for Minnesota. Alex Stalock turned away 24 of the 26 shots he faced in route to a strong 4-2 win for the Wild.
The third game of the season series shifted back to Vancouver on February 19. J.T Miller scored twice for the Canucks, while Quinn Hughes added two assists. It was not enough though as Mats Zuccarello had two assists and three different players scored for the Wild. Alex Galchenyuk scored the winner in a shootout to propel Minnesota to the 4-3 win.
The first game of this qualifying round series was on August 2. Kevin Fiala opened up the scoring on the power play. Jared Spurgeon scored two goals and added an assist, while Erik Staal had two assists. Jacob Markstrom turned away 28 of the 30 shots he faced, but it was not enough. Alex Stalock finished with a 28 shot shutout to give the Wild a 3-0 win to open the series.
The Wild’s power play had a solid season this year. Minnesota capitalized on 46 of their 216 power play chances, which was good for a 21.3 percent power play. The Wild’s penalty kill was not great though. Minnesota allowed opposing teams to score 47 power play goals on 206 opportunities, for a 77.2 percent kill rate.
Vancouver had one of the better power plays in the NHL this season. The Canucks were able to tally 57 goals on 236 attempts, which is a 24.2 percent success rate. Vancouver’s penalty kill was also solid, holding opponents to 42 goals on 215 tries. This was good for an 80.5 percent penalty kill.
These two teams found success on the power play this season, but it was Minnesota’s power play that struck in Game 1. The Wild scored two goals on four attempts on the power play in the first game. Vancouver went 0-1 on the power play. The Canucks will look to stay out of the box in this matchup, while drawing some more penalties for themselves.
Minnesota will look for Alex Stalock to stand strong in net on Tuesday night. Stalock earned a record of 20-11-4 throughout the regular season. Stalock posted a save percentage of .910 and a 2.67 GAA. He will look to build upon the momentum of the shutout from Game 1. He was tested quite a bit and stood tall, but expect Vancouver to get him moving more in this one.
Jacob Markstrom will get the nod in crease for the Canucks in this matchup. Markstrom posted a 23-16-4 record through his starts in the regular season. He earned a .918 save percentage and a GAA of 2.75 through those matchups. Markstrom had a solid performance in Game 1, but will need his team to get him some goals if they want to earn a win to tie up the series.
Both of these goalies were strong in the regular season and in Game 1. I expect the Canucks to switch up their plan a bit to break through on Stalock in Game 2. Markstrom needs to have another performance like he did in Game 1. If Vancouver can find a way to beat Stalock early though, I think it will give the Canucks a really good chance to earn the win on Tuesday night.
The Wild earned a really strong win on Sunday night, but I believe it will be Vancouver who bounces back on Tuesday. Minnesota’s power play will not stay as hot and if the Canucks can continue to play better on five on five play, it should help them get the edge. Vancouver will need to find a way to break through early though as they want to avoid letting Stalock stay hot.
BetOnline has Minnesota listed as a -111 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Wild will win this game around 52.6 percent of the time. While Minnesota played better in the first game, I think that this one should be even. These two teams were close in the standings, and I expect the Canucks to adjust. With Vancouver being underdogs on Tuesday night, I believe they have a lot of value.