The Minnesota Wild have gone from a long shot to make the playoffs just a month ago to a legitimate contender with their 10-1-2 stretch. Thanks to that run they are nearly in a playoff position, but they weren’t able to capitalize on a key opportunity tonight. Instead, Vancouver fought the rising Wild back with its 3-2 victory.
The contest was tied through 40 minutes, but Canucks rookie forward Bo Horvat broke the stalemate just 1:33 minutes into the third. Defenseman Alex Biega, provided the Canucks with some insurance by scoring in his NHL debut:
“I’m not really sure what warranted the celebration in my face,” Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said of Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, per the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. “I guess that’s the way he wants to do it.”
Wild forward Nino Niederreiter netted his 18th goal of the 2014-15 campaign less than two minutes later, but that proved to be too little, too late.
Had the Wild won tonight, they would have been tied with Vancouver in terms of points at 65, although Vancouver would have still had possession of the second Wild Card spot because they have the edge in ROW (regulation plus overtime wins). Instead, the Canucks kept pace with Calgary to maintain their hold on second place in the tight Pacific Division.
All of a sudden, injuries are starting to pile up for the Vancouver Canucks.
That last name, Alex Edler, is a big one. No Canuck has played more this season than the rejuvenated 28-year-old defender, who was forced to leave Saturday’s game in Calgary with an upper-body injury.
“Personally, I think he has been our MVP,” winger Alex Burrows said of Edler, per the Vancouver Sun. “He has logged so many big minutes. There are a lot of guys that have done a really good job, but for me he has been so good. He logs big minutes against the other team’s best players. He’s huge on the penalty kill, he’s huge on our power play. He is so smooth back there and is important for our hockey team.”
Coach Willie Desjardins said this morning that Edler is still being “evaluated.” He wouldn’t estimate how much time Edler could miss, saying only, “I don’t expect him to play today.”
Tonight at home against the red-hot Wild, Vancouver’s defensive pairings are expected to look like this:
Dan Hamhuis – Chris Tanev
Luca Sbisa – Yannick Weber
Ryan Stanton – Adam Clendening
The Canucks announced this morning that they’ve recalled d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. They kick off a five-game road trip Thursday in New York versus the Rangers.
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