With the 6-game home stand all but a memory, the Canucks find themselves in Minnesota for a Family Day battle against the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild (25-20-6) sit 5th in the nasty Central Division while the Canucks are once again clinging to a playoff spot.
Game Time: 5:00 pm
TV: Sportsnet Pacific
The Canucks are coming off of an extremely surprising 5-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Granted, the Penguins were a tired team, but the Canucks took full advantage and were full value for their win. No doubt the Canucks will need no reminders that their last effort against the Wild was a complete disaster. It is time for the Canucks to build some consistency in their game. It all starts in Minnesota.
1. Team Enigma
The Canucks are starting to resemble Gotham’s Edward Nygma. Let’s just call them Team Enigma.
The Canucks played an absolute dud of a game against the Minnesota Wild, then followed that up with a great victory against the Winnipeg Jets. On the heels of the feel good win over the Jets, the disastrous 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks happened, only to then be followed up by an extremely good team effort in a 5-0 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Who are the Canucks? At this moment I’m not sure anyone really knows, including Jim Benning and Trevor Linden.
Canucks nation can be certain that, at the very least, the Canucks will not be “buyers” at the trade deadline given the massive inconsistencies in the team’s play. This team is all about the future and Canucks fans will have to learn to live with a team that can look good and terrible all within the same week.
2. Zack Kassian
It was typical Zack Kassian on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kassian elected to go ahead with an ill-timed fight with Robert Bortuzzo in the 1st period. Some will see this as an indicator that Kassian was engaged in the game. I see it as Kassian fighting a borderline NHL defenceman with Canucks up 2-0 early in a game. Not the smartest move in my opinion.
Zack Kassian, asked about no celebration after his goal: "Forgot what to do…" #Canucks
— Cam Tucker (@CamTucker_Metro) February 8, 2015
Kassian then scored a gift of a goal and decided not to celebrate. Funny for some, ridiculous for others. I can’t imagine what his teammates are thinking, but I have to believe more than a few of them are tired of his act. Forget the nonsense and just play Zack!
"I don't know where the hockey gods have been all year, nice of them to come out tonight!" – Kassian #Canucks
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) February 8, 2015
Please Zack. Just stop.
3. Bo Horvat
Bo Horvat is starting to convince even his harshest critics that he was a smart pick by the Mike Gillis regime. Canucks nation hears ad nauseum from the critics (particularly the analytics/draft experts) that the Canucks missed the boat on Valeri Nichushkin when they took Horvat 9th overall in the 2013 draft. It is early days, but Horvat is beginning to look like the type of young centre all teams covet. The reality is that good teams are strong down the middle. Young centres with the size, strength, and 200 foot game do not grow on trees.
The Canucks will likely run with the same lineup they iced against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chris Tanev will, once again, be a game time decision.
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Burrows|
The Canucks have been bi-polar lately with their effort. It seems they either look like world-beaters or frightened turtles. Look for this to change in Minnesota. The Canucks were embarrassed at home in their loss to the Wild and will want to make amends. The Canucks win this one 4-2 and Kassian plays himself out of the lineup.