Canucks Versus Wild
Rivalries are one of the best parts of the NHL playoffs. This qualifying round match-up could see one renewed. It is the Vancouver Canucks versus the Minnesota Wild. Based on winning percentages, the qualifying round has seventh seed Vancouver taking on tenth-place Minnesota. It has been nearly a decade since these teams have been considered heated rivals. However, this qualifying round could relight the passion of fans and continue this old rivalry.
Vancouver is one of the NHL’s younger teams. For example, star players, Elias Petterson, Brock Boeser, and Quinn Hughes are in their early twenties, team captain Bo Horvat is just 25. Coming back from this pause could benefit Vancouver’s young players, as it may be easier for them to get back up to game speed.
Nevertheless, a young team means an inexperienced team. Vancouver last qualified for the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season. Meaning, most of their young stars have zero NHL playoff experience. Minnesota, on the other hand, has an average age of over 30 years old. Led by longtime NHLers Ryan Suter, Eric Stall, and Zach Parise, the Wild will not lack experience and leadership. The key to this match-up will be Vancouver’s youth against Minnesota’s experience.
Jakob Markstrom will most likely be the Canucks go-to in the net. He has been great for the Canucks this season and has provided quality play over the past three seasons. Minnesota, however, will have goalies Devan Dubnyk, Alex Stalock, and possibly Kaapo Kahkonen competing for that number one job. Whoever takes the starting position must be prepared to face a fast, young Vancouver team, eager to prove themselves.
This series has the potential to come down the wire. It will be an exciting battle, which could bring new light to an old rivalry. The question remains, who will step up, who will fall? Canucks and Wild, whoever wants it more will come out on top.