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Injuries hit forwards as Canucks level series vs. Wild with 4-3 Game 2 win

August 5, 2020, 3:24 PM ET [463 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tuesday August 4 - Vancouver Canucks 4 - Minnesota Wild 3 - Series Tied 1-1

After a power outage in their first postseason game, the Vancouver Canucks' offensive stars found their footing on Tuesday night, and evened their best-of-five series with the Minnesota Wild with a 4-3 win.

Here are your highlights:

The game was another physical contest, with lots of emotion. Call if what you want — it certainly feels like playoff hockey.

Travis Green isn't the only coach here who's keeping his roster details under wraps as much as he can. For example, I was just on the Jeremy Colliton Zoom call ahead of the Blackhawks' Game 3 against Edmonton on Wednesday night. He did mention that he'd be happy to have Drake Caggiula back in the lineup after his one-game suspension in Game 2 but other than that, his report from the morning skate was "Everyone was available."

For the Canucks, the lineup changes in Game 2 involved the insertion of Loui Eriksson and Jake Virtanen, while Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette didn't play.

Sources on the inside are suggesting that Toffoli's dealing with a foot injury.

Toffoli played 15:22 in Game 1 on Sunday. He had five hits, but none of his five shot attempts made it through to Alex Stalock — four were blocked and one was a miss. He did play right through the end of the game.

As for Gaudette, he was also said to be 'unfit to play.'

So, it took one game for the Canucks to start digging into their forward depth — and that could continue for Game 3 on Thursday — an early start, by the way, at 11:30 a.m. PT.

Micheal Ferland played just four shifts on Tuesday before leaving the game in the first period, and Antoine Roussel was helped to the bench after he took a puck to the temple in the third.

The Canucks do have a media availability scheduled for 1:45 p.m. local time on Wednesday (12:45 PT). We'll see if Travis Green provides any updates on the status of his players, but don't hold your breath.

As a result of the lineup changes, Brock Boeser moved up to re-join Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller on the Lotto Line for the first time since before his rib injury last January. Building off his strong performance at training camp, he looked thrilled to be back — registering his first career playoff goal and six total shot attempts in 19:14 of ice time.

Pettersson and Miller were also more effective than in Game 1. Miller had a two-point night, including his first goal of the series, and Pettersson had one assist, five shots on goal, and two hits. Ryan Hartman has been playing Petey hard, and Pettersson got some revenge late in the third on a play that caused Hartman to end up leaving the game, looking wobbly.

Here's the Wild's Wednesday morning update on Hartman's status, and their possible practice plans for the day.

Further down the lineup, Loui Eriksson slotted in with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson on the second line, and the group played well. After a rough Game 1, Pearson opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the first period, setting the tone for the game. Thanks to the injuries at forward, Eriksson ended up with 20:07 of ice time. No shots, but his stick disintegrated on him when Miller set him up on a clean 2-on-1 in the third period.

Sutter moved into Gaudette's spot, as third-line centre, but lost both his linemates to injury by the end of the night. Virtanen drew in on the fourth line and finished with 8:13 of ice time, including some power-play minutes. His best moment was a hustling back-check as the Wild tried for a second shorthanded goal, late in the second period.

Overall, the Canucks were the hungrier team on Tuesday. Wild forward Zach Parise and coach Dean Evason both acknowledged after the game that their team was a step behind in Game 2, where they'd been a step ahead in Game 1.

The Canucks also benefitted from a tightly-called game. They finished the night 1-for-7 on the power play, off a Bo Horvat tip of a Quinn Hughes shot from the blue line. They generated lots of additional pressure from their other man-advantage opportunities, which helped them, but they did also give up the shorthanded goal to Luke Kunin in the first period, off a bad change.

The Wild weren't far behind, but didn't convert on any of their six power plays — and got two of those chances in the third period, when the game was (mostly) out of reach.

The Canucks built a 4-1 lead by the 6:22 mark of the third and looked set to coast to the final buzzer. But the Wild played hard right till the final whistle. Kevin Fiala scored twice in the last two and a half minutes of the game, and a slapper from Brad Hunt from the neutral zone with one second to go was barely fended off by Jacob Markstrom.

Trust me — nobody wanted to see overtime in a game that ended at 11:30 p.m. local time!

Now, the Wild will become the 'home team' for Games 3 and 4, which go back-to-back on Thursday and Friday. I mentioned the early start for Thursday's game; we still don't have a schedule yet for Friday. Since the Florida Panthers stayed alive with a win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday, Friday will be another six-game day.
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