WILD (9-10-4) at CANUCKS (16-9-1)
10 p.m. ET; SNP, BSN, BSWI
That last game against the Devils was a shitshow. The Canucks in the 1st period are so frustrating to watch this year. Slow skating....terrible coverage....and a lack of fire. It's unfortunate that no reporter asked a question like, "Taco, why did none of your players step up and try to light a fire under the ass of the rest. Where were the hits, the chirping after the whistle, the fight to wake them up?"
In the past, a guy like JT would have stepped up and been that spark. I don't want to put it all on him as he had three points, but in a 1st period like that it's not only getting your team going, it's about getting into the heads of the other team and throwing them off. JT was quick to admit how bad the team played the system, but that also shows that the team has not bought into the system yet and will revert back to pond hockey too quickly.
The Devils dominated the faceoff circle in the last game. Teddy Blu was torched a few times in the defensive end, which led to Devils goal. The Jack Hughes was all on him. Lose faceoff and then lose coverage on Hughes, who scored. He also lost the faceoff in the defensive end on the Luke Hughes goal. The brothers should send him a nice Christmas gift.
Take a look at this coverage on the last Devils goal:
See that little Devil in the upper right....he just skate in and taps home a rebound as 4 Canucks get caught watching the puck. Brutal.
The trick now is to see if the Canucks can erase that disaster from their minds so they can try and beat Minnesota tonight. The Canucks went 0-2-1 against the Wild last year. This year's Wild team is not last years. This team is off to a below average start and has gone through a 7 game losing streak this year (sound familiar). Unfortunately for the Canucks, the Wild have found their winning ways and have won their last 4 in a row by a combined score of 18-5. Their power play and penalty kill are both clicking. The Wild have some big forwards like Foligno, Maroon and Eriksson Ek that like to finish their checks and crash the net.
The lines will look different tonight as the gossip around the Kuz/Taco relationship is going through a rough patch. Kuz being shipped out was already an article by JPat, who is with CanucksArmy. I was wondering if this affects the "get Garland out of here" crowd.
Wild projected lineup
Kirill Kaprizov -- Marco Rossi -- Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Johansson -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Matt Boldy
Marcus Foligno -- Frederick Gaudreau -- Pat Maroon
Brandon Duhaime -- Connor Dewar -- Ryan Hartman
Jonas Brodin -- Brock Faber
Jake Middleton -- Jared Spurgeon
Alex Goligoski -- Jon Merrill
Scratched: Dakota Mermis
Injured: Zach Bogosian (upper body)
Canucks projected lineup
Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Sam Lafferty
Nils Hoglander -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland
Andrei Kuzmenko -- Nils Aman -- Phillip Di Giuseppe
Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek
Nikita Zadorov -- Tyler Myers
Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen
Scratched: Linus Karlsson, Mark Friedman
Injured: Pius Suter (lower body), Carson Soucy (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)
Gustavsson will start Thursday with Fleury expected to start at the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. ... Bogosian will miss his third straight game, but coach John Hynes said the defenseman could play Friday. … DeSmith will start after Demko played the previous four games. … Kuzmenko is expected to skate on the fourth line at even strength but remains on the top power-play unit. … Di Giuseppe will play after being a healthy scratch the past two games. He'll replace Karlsson, a forward. - NHL.COM
Game Day Battle Hymn
There is a guy named John, who has played with this band on and off from 1988 until...well...now. He write songs, plays a mean guitar and his drummer looks like Will Ferrell.