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Preview: Wild at Canucks

Jannik Hansen returns for Vancouver; Minnesota rookie Alex Tuch makes NHL debut

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (33-12-5) at CANUCKS (23-22-6)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, FS-N, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

Forward Alex Tuch will make his NHL debut on the Minnesota Wild's top line against the Vancouver Canucks. Tuch, who was called up from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Thursday, practiced on the right side with center Eric Staal and left wing Zach Parise. "I took a second look at the board," Tuch said of first seeing the lines. "It was unbelievable. They have helped me, taken me under their wing so far." Tuch, 20, was picked in the first round (No. 18) of the 2014 NHL Draft and scored 11 goals and 11 assists in 34 games in Iowa in his first pro season. "He's a first-round pick, highly touted and let's see what he can do," coach Bruce Boudreau said. Charlie Coyle, who has one assist his past five games and no goals in 12 games, moves from the first line to the fourth line. The Wild are coming off a 5-1 loss at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, and defensive play was the focus of a long practice Friday after Minnesota was outshot 79-64 in its first two games after the NHL All-Star break. "We turned the puck over a lot," forward Zach Parise said. "We're looking to get back to playing smart without the puck and back pressure hard and making turnovers and getting offence off of that."

 

Canucks team scope

Forward Jannik Hansen returns after missing 17 games with a sprained knee and will try to help the Canucks end a two-game losing streak. Hansen, who scored an NHL career-high 22 goals last season, missed 16 games through Dec. 11 with a fractured rib, then played six before injuring his knee in a collision on Dec. 22. "I feel like the season has been ripped to shreds a bit for me," said Hansen, who scored three goals in two games before was injured his knee. Hansen, who played on the top line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin last season and before the recent injury, will skate with Markus Granlund and Brandon Sutter. "Two fast guys, skilled, they work extremely hard," Hansen said. "We did play together earlier in the year so there should be some sort of familiarity there." Hansen is also expected to help a 23rd-ranked penalty kill that has given up six goals on 18 chances in the past eight games, including two in a 4-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday that ended the Canucks' point streak on home ice at eight games (7-0-1). "It's just little breakdowns that are costing us here and there," coach Willie Desjardins said.

 

Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Alex Tuch

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Charlie Coyle

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser -- Mike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin

Injured: Victor Bartley (arm), Jonas Brodin (finger)

 

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Loui Eriksson

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Alexandre Burrows

Markus Granlund -- Brandon Sutter -- Jannik Hansen

Brendan Gaunce -- Michael Chaput -- Jack Skille

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Nikita Tryamkin -- Philip Larsen

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Reid Boucher, Alex Biega, Jayson Megna

Injured: Anton Rodin (knee), Ben Hutton (hand), Erik Gudbranson (wrist surgery), Derek Dorsett (neck surgery)

 

Status report

Coyle was also taken off Minnesota's top power-play unit and replaced by Niederreiter, who moved up from the second power play unit but down from the first to the third line at even strength. Zucker, who is second in the NHL with 35 points at 5-on-5 but rarely plays with the man advantage, took Niederreiter's spot on the second power-play unit. … Megna, who is pointless in five games, comes out of the lineup for Hansen for the Canucks.

 

Who's hot

Mikael Granlund has two goals and 11 assists during a Wild franchise-record 11-game point streak that is also the longest current streak in the NHL. Zucker has four goals and three assists in his past six games.

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