EDMONTON, Alberta – After a smooth start to the postseason with a sharp 3-0 win in Game 1, the Wild has a chance to push the Canucks to the brink of elimination when the puck drops on Game 2 Tuesday night (9:45 p.m., FSN) at Rogers Place in the best-of-five qualifying series.
The time for Game 3, by the way, has been set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Rogers Place.
Teams that go up 2-0 in a best-of-five are 55-1 all-time in the NHL, results that prove just how difficult it is to come back when falling into that deep of a hole in a short series.
Look for the Wild to utilize the same lineup; on Monday, coach Dean Evason was expecting everyone to remain available even though Sunday’s effort was physically demanding.
The Wild was a wrecking ball throughout the game, hounding pucks and the Canucks. In all, the team totaled 28 hits – with Ryan Hartman’s collision in the corner with Christopher Tanev one of the most memorable crunches of the game.
“We wanted to create energy by finishing checks,” defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “At the same time, we did talk about discipline. It seems like every game we’ve been watching there’s been lots of power plays. Those can turn a game pretty quick.”
Hartman was also speared while on the bench in the third period, a decision by Micheal Ferland that cost him $5,000 since he and Luke Kunin were later fined for the incident. Kunin held Ferland’s stick from the bench before Ferland retaliated on Hartman, and he was leveled a $1,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Canucks make any tweaks to a lineup that struggled to generate quality looks against the Wild.
On Sunday, the team scratched Jake Virtanen despite Virtanen scoring 18 goals and putting up 36 points in the regular season.
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Alex Galchenyuk-Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
2: Power play goals by the Wild in four chances during Game 1.
2: Assists for center Eric Staal Sunday.
7: Hits by winger Marcus Foligno against the Canucks.
16:24: Ice time for center Joel Eriksson Ek in Game 1, a career high for the playoffs.
6: Shots from the Canucks’ top five scorers so far in the series.
About the Canucks:
Vancouver tested goalie Alex Stalock 28 ties in Game 1, but most of those pucks were hurled on net by the team’s defense. Canucks forwards were responsible for only 11 shots, while their defense had 17. It wasn’t until late in the game that Vancouver received its first power play, and the team didn’t register a shot. The Canucks did have the edge in faceoffs, winning 36 compared to 25 for the Wild. Vancouver was also engaged physically, racking up 40 hits.