VANCOUVER, British Columbia – After a couple practices and a day away from the rink on the heels of a hectic week, the Wild is finally back in action Wednesday in Vancouver where it’ll start a two-game road trip against the Canucks.
And the team’s traveling party for this trek is larger than usual, since the players have brought their dads or mentors with them.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” interim coach Dean Evason said. “I have my son here, actually my daughters are here as well because they’re in the area. But I wish I had this opportunity when my dad was alive. It would have been an absolutely amazing experience. Just seeing the dads last night, they were involved in all our meetings. They were at practice. Wonderful dinner last night. It must be wonderful as a player to have them sitting there and watching and be involved.”
This is the Wild’s first game since the team was blanked 2-0 by the Sharks on Saturday in Evason’s debut. He replaced Bruce Boudreau after Boudreau was fired last Friday.
The Wild’s forward lines are poised to be the same, but the team will make a change in net – starting Devan Dubnyk after backup Alex Stalock made the last three starts.
On defense, Brad Hunt will remain on the third pairing for a second straight game. Before then, the Wild had been rotating Hunt and Greg Pateryn.
“One night we might feel that we need a physical presence and more of a defensive guy,” Evason said. “Some nights maybe we feel we need an offensive guy in.”
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Alex Galchenyuk-Luke Kunin-Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway
Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
200: Career games for center Joel Eriksson Ek.
9-7-2: Record for the Wild during its last 18 road contests.
10: Points for winger Kevin Fiala in his past seven games.
7: Power play points for defenseman Jared Spurgeon over the last 12 games.
13-8-1: Showing for the Wild in its previous 22 games vs. Vancouver.
About the Canucks:
With 32 wins and 69 points, the Canucks are battling for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Currently, they’re sitting third – just one point behind No.1 Edmonton. Winger Tyler Toffoli, who was acquired in a trade with the Kings on Monday, is expected to make his Canucks debut against the Wild. In 58 games this season with Los Angeles, Toffoli had 18 goals and 34 points. Vancouver will be without Burnsville’s Brock Boeser for at least eight weeks as he deals with a rib injury.