#7 Vancouver Canucks (36-27-6) vs. #10 Minnesota Wild (35-27-7)
On the season, the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks would face off three times. The Minnesota Wild would win two of the three contests, with one being in the overtime session.
This will be only the second match-up between the two squads, with Minnesota winning the match-up in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals.
Schedule of contests (all contests are in Edmonton):
What to look for:
VANCOUVER: Since the shutdown, look for Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom to be back healthy and forwards Micheal Ferland and Josh Leivo could come back healthy as well. Markstrom (23-16-4, 2.75 GAA) was out of action when the season paused with a knee injury.
Ferland has been out of action since December 10th, due to recurring concussion symptoms and is currently symptom-free, according to TSN. Leivo has been recovering from a fractured kneecap since the December 19 match-up against the Vegas Golden Knights. Vancouver GM Jim Benning wasn’t sure about Leivo returning to play on April 29th.
MINNESOTA: Defenceman Carson Soucy is the only player injured and he is expected to return to play. Soucy missed the last nine games with an upper-body injury prior to the season being put on pause.
ANALYSIS: The return of Markstrom is going to be a advantage for Vancouver. Markstrom is due to be an UFA once the postseason comes to a close, after completing a three-year contract. If Markstrom shows a great outing in the series, it could work in his favour for contract negotiations. Minnesota was 12-5-1 in their last 18 games, showing signs of strength. Wild F Kevin Fiala had 26 points (14G, 12A) and hopes to pick up where he left off when the season was paused.
PREDICTION: Minnesota in 5