Wild nights that DON’T involve scoring

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A visit from the Minnesota Wild should be sufficient to imbue terror in the mind of any hockey fan. Horrible visions of 2-1, or 1-0 hockey games with 25 shots (total) abound.

This is no ordinary meeting with the Wild, however. The Canucks face their division rivals in the midst of their worst stretch of hockey since the beginning of the season.

In the last six games, the ‘Nucks are 1-4-1. During this period of lacklustre play, they have slipped from a more or less lengthy perch atop the Northwest division. As it stands this morning, the Canucks are, in fact, in a tie for eighth place with tonight’s opponents.

The problems have been documented ad nauseum, on this blog, other Canucks blogs, and in the Vancouver media. There is no need for me to recount them here. Suffice it to say, the Canucks are down a goal or two early on far too often for a team that is not scoring enough to win games even when Roberto Luongo plays well.

The key tonight, then, is simple: preparation. The Canucks have to come out with a sense of urgency, get a goal or two, and then focus their energies on containing the Wild’s, er, modest offence.

If the Canucks do not come out more prepared than they have been in the last three games in particular, they are going to lose. And, with losses mounting and teams on the playoff bubble like Columbus and St. Louis well positioned to make a push, the incipient discontent in Vancouver might just rise to the surface.

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