EDMONTON, Alberta – The months of uncertainty, a second edition of training camp and then relocating to a bubble in Edmonton, all of that could end up culminating in just four games for the Wild unless the team staves off elimination Friday night when it takes on the Canucks in the best-of-five play-in series.
Puck drop for Game 4 is 9:45 p.m., barely a day after Vancouver blanked the Wild 3-0 in Game 3 on Thursday afternoon.
“Right back at them,” winger Marcus Foligno said.
Perhaps the urgency of a must-win game will help the Wild, the reality of what’s at stake perfectly clear. But the team still has some questions to answer.
First of all, will Ryan Suter play? The defenseman left the action late in the third period Thursday and did not return. Coach Dean Evason didn’t have an update on Suter’s status after the game, and the team didn’t hold media availability before Game 4.
If he can’t go, Matt Bartkowski seems to be next in line on the depth chart.
The other issue with the Wild is its scoring woes; not only has the team yet to convert at 5-on-5 through three games, but the power play is in a 0-for-14 rut.
Whether or not the offense gets going will likely decide the Wild’s fate.
“We just have to be smart with the puck and maybe a little more patience and get some get some shots on the net,” winger Kevin Fiala said.
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
2-1: Record for the Wild all-time in the second game of a back-to-back in the playoffs.
39: Hits in Game 3 by the Wild.
0: Power play goals for the Wild in its last 14 opportunities.
3: Assists by Quinn Hughes in Game 3 to set the Canucks franchise record for most points in a playoff game by a rookie defenseman.
2: Goals over the last two games for Burnsville’s Brock Boeser.
About the Canucks:
After his first career shutout in the playoffs Thursday, Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom improved his save percentage in the postseason to .946. His goals-against average is 1.68. Vancouver continues to have the edge in faceoffs, with its 55.8 percent efficiency among the best in the playoffs. Captain Bo Horvat has been the team’s leader in that department, winning 57.4 percent of the faceoffs he’s taken. The Canucks have also blocked more shots in the series than the Wild at 49; the Wild has 36.