Game preview from Hockey Wilderness. Check out tonight’s game thread for full lineups and the Five Questions of the Game.
Could tonight be the triumphant return of Kaptain Mikko Koivu? How about Cal Clutterbuck? From the sounds of things, both are very real possibilities with Koivu being a game time decision and Clutterbuck saying he is in. Clayton Stoner also says he believes he is in. (All of this info is from Russo on Twitter, by the way.)
If Koviu or Clutterbuck return, it would be a huge morale boost to the Wild. For the past two games, the Wild have looked as though someone stole their puppy or threw sand on their lollipops. No hustle, no chemistry, no fight at all. Can one or two guys make that major of an impact? Apparently so, and it puts an awful lot of pressure on those tow players to produce immediately.
Fair or not, Koivu and Clutterbuck will be looked to to save the team upon setting foot on the ice. The Wild need a win, and they need it tonight. Russo tweeted he feels the season ended against Dallas. I tend to agree, but they are still technically alive, and if they go on a tear, they can still make it.
The foe tonight is a familiar one. With the Canucks, the Wild know exactly what they are getting, and it is a deadly mix of offense and physical play. They have added Lapierre since the last time we saw them, adding a whole new dimension of goonery to the line up. Hopefully the Wild are prepared to be both disciplined and step up to defend one another.
Shut down the Sedins, and get to LOLuongo. Those are the keys to beating the Nucks, and the Wild know it. The code is already cracked, now all they need to do is put it into practice.