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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Vancouver

Four-game road trip through Canada begins Tuesday against Canucks

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild Pregame at Vancouver

Wild Pregame at Vancouver

Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau, Erik Haula & Jared Spurgeon talk about needing a good start against the hard-working Canucks in Vancouver

  • 01:25 •
The Essentials
Who: Minnesota Wild (11-7-3, 25 points, third place, Central Division) at Vancouver Canucks (9-11-2, 20 points, sixth place, Pacific Division)
Puck drop: 9:00 p.m. CT
Watch: FOX Sports North; FOX Sports GOWild Watch Bar LocationsNHL.TV

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

The Opponent

The Vancouver Canucks have rotated between wins and losses each game since Nov. 7, a span of 10 games. The Canucks won 3-2 in a shootout in Colorado on Saturday night their last time out, a victory that wrapped up a three-game road trip. Daniel and Henrik Sedin, each a long-time nemesis of the Wild dating back to the days of the old Northwest Division, have seven assists each in 22 games. Daniel has one more goal (six) than his brother. Bo Horvat leads the team in both goals (seven) and points (15). Vancouver's 2.14 goals per game ranks 29th in the NHL.


Connections

• Wild assistant coach Darby Hendrickson played 27 games with the Canucks in 1998-99. 

• Wild goaltending coach Bob Mason played in six games with Vancouver 1990-91. 

• Canucks forward Markus Granlund is the younger brother of Wild forward Mikael. 


Head West

Minnesota is 4-1-0 in its last five games in Vancouver dating back to March 18, 2013, after posting 11 straight losses from March 3, 2009. The Wild is also 8-3-0 in its last 11 games overall against the Canucks, and with a 36-32-14 record all-time, Minnesota's 86 points againt Vancouver are its third-most against any NHL franchise.


At the Rink

The Minnesota Wild opens a stretch of four straight road games in Canadian cities on Tuesday night when it plays the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. 

It's the longest road trip for the Wild so far this season, at least in terms of days on the road, and it provides the group with an opportunity to both have fun and get better.

After playing seven games in a 12-day span, the Wild now has time to get plenty of practice time in between games. 

Jared Spurgeon, celebrating his 27th birthday on Tuesday, said the key to both starts with a good beginning to the trip.

Video: Jared Spurgeon Pregame at Vancouver

"First game of a trip, you want to come out with your best effort," Spurgeon said. "It's four games but it's a lot of days, so it's a good chance for us to get together as a team and hang out. But it's only as fun as you can make it with wins on the ice. The first one is big for us." 

Getting off to a good start on the trip is something the team has embraced and earning a victory in the first game is vital. 

After playing in Vancouver Tuesday, the Wild will practice twice in Calgary before playing the Flames at the Saddledome on Friday night.

Video: Erik Haula Pregame at Vancouver

"I think we've talked about it enough that it can be a really good time if we put in the work when it's needed," said Wild forward Erik Haula. "I think we had a good practice yesterday and it'd be great to win the first one."

Darcy Kuemper was the first goaltender off the ice at this morning's skate and is expected to get the nod in goal for the Wild.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Pregame at Vancouver

Defenseman Gustav Olofsson, recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Sunday, also appears primed to make his season debut with Minnesota. If Olofsson plays, he will likely skate with Matt Dumba on the Wild's third pairing. Jonas Brodin would flip to his offhand and play next to Marco Scandella.

Ryan Miller is the expected starter in goal for the Canucks.

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Zack Mitchell - Tyler Graovac - Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Jonas Brodin

Gustav Olofsson - Matt Dumba

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

CANUCKS 

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Brandon Sutter

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Alexandre Burrows

Markus Granlund - Michael Chaput - Loui Eriksson

Jack Skille - Brandon Gaunce - Jayson Megna

Luca Sbisa - Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson

Nikita Tryamkin - Philip Larsen

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

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