The Canucks are coming, the Canucks are coming!
In the closest thing the Wild have to a rivalry, the Vancouver Canucks come to town tonight, facing a Wild team that is, in a word, inconsistent. The Canucks are not really a rivalry, since the Canucks generally don't even know the Wild exist, and rivalries are built in the playoffs, somewhere the Wild haven't been since the Taft administration. Still, the players seem to get up a bit more for the Canucks, and there is plenty of bad blood between the teams.
The Nucks, once again, will not start Roberto Luongo in St. Paul. But hey, since the numbers are too small of a sample set, we'll just chock it up to pure coincidence that Luongo, who holds a massive shutout streak against the Wild in Vancouver, isn't getting the start tonight. The drama surrounding Luongo is nothing short of amazing, to be honest. You sign a guy to a long term deal, his numbers have not slipped at all, and suddenly you need to off load the guy.
It just makes no sense.
The Wild have played much better at home than they have on the road, and the Canucks are not exactly off to a red hot start, but the Wild cannot take this one for granted. You all remember those brain eating wonders, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, right? Alex Burrows? Maxim Lapierre? Keith Ballard?
Oh, and hey... Cam Barker, oh he of the lethal stare, is also on the roster. Good times.
It looks like Charlie Coyle will make the jump to the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, and Dany Heatley will play on the second line with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen. The placement for Devin Setoguchi is up in the air and Mikael Granlund is out, and the defensive pairings look to be in stone.
Tonight will also be the Wild premier of Mike Rupp, recently acquired from the New York Rangers. He likely slots in on the fourth line, but who comes out had not been determined as of this writing. He will bring some grit and willingness to fight in a game that almost certainly demand it.
The Canucks are always a fun team to watch, and the fans over at Nucks Misconduct will give as good as they get. Be good to them, they've been very good to me. While there is no real rivalry here, this game is bound to be a good one. Be sure to tune in.
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