At first glance this year’s playoff format caused more stir than joy. Many felt this would give an opportunity to many teams that didn’t deserve to be there. The series between the Canucks and Wild however proves otherwise. This format will give a chance to see some of the teams on the bubble battle it out, despite being just below a playoff spot. Minnesota and Vancouver were both having very great seasons, punching much higher than their weight class. They were a mere one and two points out of the final wild card spots in the west.

Vancouver Canucks 

For Vancouver, this season was very positive. The quick development from their young stars helped end the Canucks four year hiatus from the playoffs. For large parts of the season, the Canucks had been battling it out with the Oilers and Flames for the top spot in the Pacific. The great play led the Canucks to make few moves at the deadline. They acquired Toffoli to bulk up for the playoffs.

Injuries did play a big part in the Canucks play prior to the stoppage. The injury to goalie Markstrom being the hardest to recover from. Markstrom was named to the All-Star game and a strong contender for the Vezina. With a healthy lineup the Canucks will be difficult to beat.

Minnesota Wild

Despite being in the midst of a rebuild, the Minnesota Wild have quietly overachieved this season. After missing the playoffs last year, many figured the same result in 2020. In just 69 games this year, the Wild were only six points shy of what they finished with in 2018-19. While there was a  big gap between them and the top three teams in the central, the Wild were in good shape to make the playoffs.

The Wild finished the season with only one player able to get over the 50 point mark. Veterans such as Staal, Suter, Parise and Zuccarello were key in their success. Goalie Alex Stalock pushed longtime starter Dubnyk to the bench this season aswell. The 32-year-old Minnesota native came out of no where this year, winning 20 of his 35 starts while also recording four shut-outs.

Prediction

My prediction is that the Canucks will move on, beating the Wild in five games. I feel that the speed and talent on the Canucks roster outpowers the Wild. The experience on the Wild will make it interesting but it just won’t be enough. In the end however, it’s not a big loss as they will be put in the draft lottery for a shot at Laferriere. Which I have a feeling they will win.