Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild
Game 1: Sunday, August 2nd, 9:30 P.M CDT (NBCSN)
This is a qualifying round series that could go either way. Two evenly-matched teams that are looking to extend seasons that should be considered successful ones for these two up-and-comers.
Truthfully, both of these teams are lucky to be in the qualifying round as they both hovered at the bottom of their divisions this season, with Vancouver making their way up to third before the season pause.
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The loss of key player Jason Zucker at the trade deadline and a coaching change in February should’ve ended the Wild’s playoff run officially, but they have new life. The Wild went on a tear before the season pause, winning three of their last four games.
They were led by former Nashville Predator Kevin Fiala, who helped them secure a spot in the qualifying round. Veteran Zach Parise helped the team make that final push as well. Parise scored 25 goals this season, the most on the team.
The Canucks are a young team led by Calder Trophy finalist Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser. They are looking to make a name for themselves in their first playoff appearance. They’ve failed to make the postseason over the last five seasons.
The Canucks play a fast-paced game and also boast the fourth-best power play in the NHL. Their goaltending isn’t the greatest and defense isn’t their strong suit, either.
With the youthfulness of the Canucks and the resurgence of the Wild, this series could turn into a great matchup that should be fun to watch. Expect this to be back and forth to require the full five games and some overtime hockey as well.