3 Keys: Canucks vs. Wild, Game 3 of Cup Qualifiers


No. 7 Canucks vs. No. 10 Wild

2:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N

Best-of-5 series is tied, 1-1

The Vancouver Canucks will be without at least one forward in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Minnesota Wild at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday.

Forward Micheal Ferland was ruled unfit to play for the remainder of the Qualifiers on Wednesday. Ferland left Game 2, a 4-3 win, on Tuesday after the first period and has returned home.

The Canucks were without forwards Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette, who were unfit to play, in the victory in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city. Forward Antoine Roussel left in the third period after taking a puck to the face.

Teams that win Game 3 after a series is tied 1-1 are 21-7 (75 percent) winning a best-of-5 NHL series (14-2 when last used from 1980-86).

Here are 3 keys to Game 3:


1. Canucks’ forward depth

With Ferland out, Zack MacEwen could make his NHL postseason debut. He would likely play right wing on the third or fourth line. Toffoli, Gaudette and Roussel are uncertain for the game.

Loui Eriksson and Jake Virtanen filled in for Toffoli and Gaudette in Game 2 and would likely do so again if needed.

“I thought everyone raised their game [in Game 2],” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “We were down to 10 forwards in the third, 11 the whole game. Loui Eriksson hasn’t played in a while and comes in and plays 20 minutes (20:07 total time on ice) on the (penalty) kill and a matchup role with Bo Horvat. This is a tough series right now. We evened it up, and it’s getting [more fun] as we go.”

Video: Miller, Horvat propel Canucks to Game 2 victory


2. 5-on-5 scoring

The Canucks scored three of their four goals in Game 2 at even strength, but the Wild have yet to score a 5-on-5 goal in the series. Minnesota forward Kevin Fiala scored twice in the final 2:29 with an extra attacker Tuesday after goalie Alex Stalock was pulled.

“[The Canucks] had a little more jump to their step [in Game 2],” Wild forward Zach Parise said. “It felt like we didn’t have the puck as much. I think there’s no secret what makes us a good team is being on the forecheck and spending long shifts in the offensive zone.”


3. Goalie options for Wild

Stalock, who had a 28-save shutout in Game 1, allowed four goals on 28 shots in Game 2. It’s unclear if the Wild will turn to Devan Dubnyk in Game 3.

Dubnyk missed time in November and December when his wife was dealing with a medical situation. But prior to Games 1 and 2, Dubnyk had started all 26 postseason games Minnesota played since acquiring him in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 15, 2015.


Canucks projected lineup

J.T. MillerElias PetterssonBrock Boeser

Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Loui Eriksson

Antoine Roussel — Brandon Sutter — Zack MacEwen

Tyler MotteJay Beagle — Jake Virtanen

Quinn HughesChristopher Tanev

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher

Oscar FantenbergTyler Myers

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Justin Bailey, Jordie Benn, Jalen Chatfield, Louis Domingue, Tyler Graovac, Olli Juolevi, Brogan Rafferty

Unfit to play: Tyler Toffoli, Adam Gaudette, Micheal Ferland, Josh Leivo


Wild projected lineup

Jordan GreenwayEric Staal — Kevin Fiala

Zach Parise — Joel Eriksson EkLuke Kunin

Marcus FolignoAlex GalchenyukMats Zuccarello

Ryan DonatoMikko KoivuRyan Hartman

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Brad HuntCarson Soucy

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Louie Belpedio, Luke Johnson, Kaapo Kahkonen, Gerald Mayhew, Brennan Menell, Victor Rask, Kyle Rau, Mat Robson, Nico Sturm

Unfit to play: Greg Pateryn


Status report

Hartman left Game 2 in the third period after a hit from Pettersson but is expected to play.

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