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Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks: Game 54

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Minnesota Wild (25-19-8) vs Vancouver Canucks (33-15-5)

Xcel Energy Center @ 7:00 PM CSTTelevision: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Vancouver perspective, check out Nucks Misconduct

Minnesota Wild Vancouver Canucks
Devin Setoguchi - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Erik Christensen - Matt Cullen - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Johnson - Kyle Brodziak - Carson McMillan
Brad Staubitz - Warren Peters - Darroll Powe

Nick Schultz - Jared Spurgeon
Greg Zanon - Marek Zidlicky
Nate Prosser - Justin Falk

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Byron Bitz - Henrik Sedin - Mason Raymond
Daniel Sedin - Ryan Kesler - Alexandre Burrows
David Booth - Cody Hodgson - Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Aaron Rome

Cory Schneider
Roberto Luongo

This game is always a fun one. Vancouver fans do not consider this a rivalry game. Which is perfectly fine. They don't have to. However, the teams do consider this a rivalry game. You can see it in their eyes, and in the way they play the game. To say the teams don't hate each other is to simply say you aren't paying attention.

This will, undoubtedly, be a physical game. Should be a good test for the returning Mikko Koivu. With a shoulder injury being the issue, returning in a physical game will certainly teel us if he is fully healed or not. Koivu, of course, takes over the top line. Setoguchi moves up to that line as well. If the Wild are going to win, they need this line to produce.

The second line will give the Wild a new look on the supporting scoring line. Christensen gets his first crack at top 6 minutes, something I have been anxiously waiting to see to gauge the value of his game. Hopefully he can bring a spark to a line that will also be expected to put points on the board.

Roberto Luongo sits tonight, as he and the "small sample size" of him sucking at the Xcel Energy Center take a back seat to Cory Schneider. No one in Vancouver wants to admit their golden boy has a mental issue with playing in Saint Paul, but lucky for them, their coach sets the roster, not the fans. But hey, what do I know? I'm just the ignorant whiny homer that is too stupid to understand statistics.

Henrik Sedin is playing, despite having a walking boot on and nursing some kind of injury. If you notice, he and his twin brain eater brother are not on the same line. Word from Twitter says the two have struggled, and this is an attempt to get them going again. Apparently, Vancouver is out of cadavers to keep them fed. Being split up makes them no less dangerous, so don't get your hopes up there.

As always, the player to douchebag quotient is rather high for the Canucks. Don't expect Burrows, Lapierre, Bieksa and crew to be any less so than normal. Broows will likely need to target Spurgeon, since Bouchard is out, so watch out for that matchup.

Enjoy the game.

Five Questions:

  1. How does Koivu look in his return to action?
  2. Wild have owned the Nucks at the X, does that continue?
  3. Will the top line be a force?
  4. Can the second line bring some heat and get chances?
  5. Is tonight the night the Wild play some... you know... hockey?
Enjoy the Wild's warm up songs before the game: