What’s the story State of Hockey Legion?
The Wild is back on home ice at Xcel Energy Center, and tonight the club takes on divisional rival, Vancouver Knuckleheads, also known as the Canucks.
The Wild has been a juggernaut at home, going 4-1-0 to start the season. Tonight, the club hosts a Canucks team that has won its previous three games. But it doesn’t matter what Vancouver is doing because the Wild has shaken up its forward lines and looks to get things rolling offensively tonight.
Wild rookie forward Charlie Coyle makes his home debut tonight and has been promoted to the first line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. The 20-year-old was solid in his debut Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes, and will be looked for as a net-front presence with Koivu and Parise. Dany Heatley has been shifted to skate with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. The sniper hopes to get things going with the pass-happy Cullen and Bouchard.
Newcomer forward Mike Rupp, who was acquired from the New York Rangers for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri, will be on the wing with Zenon Konopka and Devin Setoguchi. Rupp is a behemoth at 6-foot-5 and will be banging bodies in a Wild sweater for the first time tonight.
The Wild will start goaltender Niklas Backstrom for the third-straight game. He looks to have a bounce-back season against Vancouver, going 0-2-1 with a .869 save percentage and a 3.59 goals against average. He’s due for a good outing against the Canucks.
The Wild is sharp in its home reds with circular logo, while the Canucks wear its Orca-C sweaters. As always, we’ll be live tweeting the game @mnwildLIVE.
It’s go time!
Period 1 - MIN 0, VAN 2
The Wild will play from behind after a hot start from the Canucks.
Vancouver got on the board first on a rebound goal from Daniel Sedin. Alex Burrows fired a puck on Backstrom, who made the save, but the rebound went right to the tape of Sedin, who banged home the puck to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead. Dan Hamhuis picked up the second assist on the play.
The second Vancouver goal came as the team's power play expired. Maxim Lapiere fired a shot from the left circle with a screen out front of Backstrom. Chris Higgins got his stick on the shot and redirected it past the Wild's netminder. Jason Garrison was credited with the second assist.
The Wild was outshot 9-3 that period and looks to turn things around in the second period.
Period 2 - MIN 0, VAN 4
After the Wild looked to take control of the momentum in the second period, Uncle Mo quickly turned his back on the team, as the Canucks scored two quick goals to close out the period.
With the Canucks on a power play, the Wild was scrambling to keep the puck out of its net. Then an unfortunate bounce landed right on the tape of Mason Raymond, who put it past a sprawling Backstrom.
Vancouver followed that up with a breakaway goal from Jannik Hansen. Hansen took an outlet pass from Mason Raymond and put it over the glove of Backstrom.
The Wild will have a big effort in the third and try to overcome this deficit.
Period 3 - MIN 1, VAN 4
The Wild finally broke through in the final frame on the power play.
After several chances on the man advantage, the Wild gained control and Matt Cullen slid the puck to Jonas Brodin at the point. Brodin walked the blue line and made a pin-point pass in Tom Gilbert's wheelhouse. The blueliner one-timed a bullet past Schneider.
The Wild outshot the Canucks in the final two period, 20-13, but couldn't mount a comeback.
We'll see you all back on Saturday night, as the Wild hosts the Nashville Predators at 7 p.m.