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Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks: Game 45

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Minnesota Wild (21-18-5) vs. Vancouver Canucks (29-9-6)

Xcel Energy Center @ 5:00 PM CST Television: FSN (HD)
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For the Vancouver perspective, check out Nucks Misconduct

Minnesota Wild
Vancouver Canucks

Andrew Brunette - Mikko Koivu - Antti Miettinen
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Kyle Brodziak - Martin Havlat
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Chuck Kobasew
Brad Staubitz - John Madden - Eric Nystrom

Nick Schultz - Brent Burns
Jared Spurgeon - Kobe Bryant
Clayton Stoner
- Greg Zanon

Anton Khudobin
Niklas Backstrom

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond - Ryan Kesler - Jeff Tambellini
Raffi Torres - Manny Malhotra - Mikael Samuelsson
Tanner Glass - Alexandre Bolduc -
Jannik Hansen

Alexander Edler - Christian Ehrhoff
Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Andrew Alberts -
Keith Ballard

Cory SchneiderRoberto Luongo

Big game, big rivalry, big opportunity. Our prediction? None of it means anything tonight.

The Wild are not the same team they were when they put a 6-2 beat down on the Nucks in October. Turns out, the Canucks are much better than anyone in Minnesota wants to admit, as well. The top team in the NHL? It's enough to make ipecac unnecessary. The fact of the matter is, though? They deserve that title.

With the braineaters in full flourish, Alexandre the Annoying in full out moronic form, and Ryan Kesler somehow not cracking under the pressure of keeping Kevin Bieska from giving the franchise a black eye everyday, the Canucks are having a good season. Russo even picked the to win the Cup.

Never going to happen. This is still, after all, the Canucks. They will find a way to shoot themselves in the collective foot. They are a beatable team, and in the playoffs, in a seven game series, the opposition will find a way to do so.

However, that is a long time from now. The only thing that matters today is a game at 5PM. With Borat in the net, and Backstrom backing up, but completely unlikely to play without an injury to Anton, this game just has the feel of a blow out. The first goal against from the Avs tells me that the Sedins are going to have a career night.

With a blowout comes the potential for things to get chippy, and the fact that, reportedly, no one would go with David Koci, who is going to step up and protect the team's honor? Everyone here at Hockey Wilderness is pulling for a win, trust me on that. What we would like even more is to avoid a complete embarrassment.

We always include a section on "how the Wild win." So, how can the Wild win? First, they need to limit the shots against, and they need to make sure that the shots they do give up are low percentage areas. Push the Canucks to the perimeter, clear the front of the net to ensure the minuscule Khudobin can actually see the puck, and clear the rebounds he tends to cough up.

On the offensive side, it is a one word answer. Finish.

Again, everyone here wants the Wild to pull this off, and they have shown in the past that they can step up for the big game. With so many red flags going up, it is overwhelming with the number of factors that can beat them. For those reasons, we are not expecting a good result tonight.

We hope we are wrong.

Five Questions:

  1. Borat was soft and squishy in his first start of the year, can he rebound?
    Will the braineaters be kept under six points each?
    The defense needs a huge game, can Barker channel some talent?
  2. Can Burrows contain his nut-busting ability?
  3. Over under for goals for the Nucks is 5. Over under on total PIMs is 50. What will the final result be?