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  • 3/9 PREGAME: Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks

    Heather Rule

    Yet another set of back-to-back road games as part of March Madness for the Minnesota wild. They’ll start this set with a game out west in Vancouver.


    Just like last weekend, the Wild have another couple of games against teams ranked lower in the standings. The Wild (38-22-7), still in the third spot in the Central Division, just hope for a different result. The Wild haven’t been able to beat the Vancouver Canucks (25-33-9) yet this season, getting shut out 1-0 and then losing 3-2 in overtime with both losses coming in St. Paul.


    The Wild are 15-18-9 all-time in Vancouver, a former division rival. More recently, they’re 9-6-1 in their last 16 contests against the Canucks and 5-2-0 in their last seven in Vancouver.


    Eric Staal is tied for fourth in the league with his 36 goals this season. It’s the most he’s scored in a season since 2008-09 when he had 40. His career-high mark is 45 goals set in 2005-06 during his second NHL season.


    Jared Spurgeon has tallied six points in his past six games as part of the Wild’s offensively-solid defensive core. He has nine goals and 27 assists this season in 58 games. One more assist and two more points will tie his career-highs in those categories. He also leads the Wild in blocked shots with 122 of them.


    Center Mikko Koivu looks to extend his point streak, which currently sits at five games (3-4—7). Six games would be a season-long streak for him. Zach Parise also has points in his past five games with three goals and two assists.


    As always, be on the lookout for the Sedin twins, who are typically Wild killers when they step on the ice. Center Henrik Sedin has 70 career points in 85 games against Minnesota, while his brother and left winger Daniel is a 65-point scorer in 81 games. Overall, Henrik (2-41—41) has 11 assists in his past 18 games this season; Daniel (21-25—46) has 14 points over his past 12 games.


    However, this season the only Sedins just have one point against the Wild, with an assist from Henrik.


    Speaking of brothers, it’s another matchup between the Granlunds with the Wild’s Mikael and Vancouver center Markus, the younger Granlund. This will be their eighth meeting; Mikael holds a 4-2-1 advantage against Markus. Mikael, part of the points-heavy line with Staal and Jason Zucker this year, scored his first career hat trick against his brother and the Canucks on Feb. 4 last season. Mikael has three goals and five assists in the eight meetings, while Markus has a goal and an assist.


    The Granlund-Staal-Zucker line has 35 points in seven games, with each player registering double-digit points in that span.


    The Wild won’t face a former Mr. Hockey and Burnsville native in winger Brock Boeser. The rookie has 29 goals and 55 points this season but suffered a back injury on Monday. He’ll potentially miss the remainder of the season.


    This is the 12th of 15 back-to-back sets this season. The Wild are 5-5-1 on the first night and 4-6-1 on the second night. Meanwhile, the Canucks are wrapping up a five-game homestand.


    Overall, the Wild are 7-2 in their past nine games. In their past four games (2-2), the winning team has scored four-or-more goals. The Wild were outscored 12-4 in the two road losses last weekend in Arizona and Colorado.


    Injury list:

    Nick Seeler (right biceps strain), 1 game

    Luke Kunin (ACL tear in left knee), out for the season, 1 game

    Total man games lost: 113




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