For the second time in franchise history, the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild will meet in the NHL Playoffs - kind of.
Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the NHL's Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 season and although there is still much to be decided and a lot up in the air, we can confirm that when hockey does return, the Canucks will play the Wild in a best-of-five Qualifying Round, with the winner advancing to the first round of the NHL Playoffs.
So it's a playoff to make the playoffs.
When will it begin? Good question. But teams are expected to get the green light to return to their home facilities for small group, voluntary, and on- and off-ice training in early June. In July, formal training camps will begin after guidance from medical and civil authorities.
Where will the Canucks face the Wild? Another good question. The 24 teams competing in seeding round robin play, qualifying play and conference-based playoffs will play in two hub cities, one for the western conference and one for the east. The hub cities will be selected from among the following: Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.
What about the Draft Lottery? How will that work this season? Best question yet. Click here to read all the details for yourself; I would love to summarize it all, but I need someone to explain it to me first.
REGULAR SEASON CONCLUDED
Bettman declared the 2019-20 regular season concluded, meaning the 189 games originally scheduled from March 12 - April 4 will not be played. One guess as to who this year's rookie scoring champion is: Quinn Hughes!
The 20-year-old defenceman recorded an NHL-best 53 points for rookies, including an NHL-rookie best 45 assists. He's the first defenceman to lead all NHL rookies in points since Brian Leetch in 1988-89, according to Sportsnet Stats.
Video: Best of Quinn Hughes in 2019-2020
J.T. Miller finishes as the Canucks leading point scorer with 72; Miller tied Elias Pettersson as Vancouver's top goal scorer with 27 snipes. The Canucks overall finished fourth in power play percentage at 24.2%, second in the NHL with 128 home goals and fifth in the league for a 50-point home record.
CANUCKS VS. WILD
The Canucks finish the regular season with a 36-27-6 record and 78 points, one more than the Wild and their 77 off a 35-27-7 record.
The Canucks and Wild played three times this season, with Vancouver beating Minnesota 4-1 in Minny on January 12th, before the Wild got the better of the Canucks on February 6th (4-2) and February 18th (4-3 SO) in Vancouver.
These teams have only met once in the playoffs before, back in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2003. Vancouver led the series 3-1 before dropping the final three games, and the series, in seven.
It was a wild series - pun fully intended.