The entire sports world is ready to get back to normal. Bundesliga (Soccer), Nascar and (Korean) baseball are already back. The NHL proposed to end the regular season and jump right into a 24-team playoff in two currently unknown hub cities. One city for the Eastern Conference and one for the Western Conference.
One of the more interesting matchups is between the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks. The reason why I find this matchup so interesting is because the Wild weren’t supposed to be in the playoffs originally and Vancouver looked like a wildcard team who would have dipped after a loss in the first round.
Minnesota Wild 2020 Season
Well, it hasn’t been an impressive run in 2020 with the inconsistencies in Wild goaltending. Alex Stalock allowed 2.67 goals per game while even worse was veteran Devan Dubnyk, allowing 3.35 goals per game. The beginning of the 2019-20 campaign for the Wild did not look very good. It seemed the Wild were getting twice as many shots on goal as their opponents, but if the shots won’t go in, then what good are the shots.
Vancouver Canucks 2020 Season
Vancouver seemed to have everything pulled together for a late stage playoff run before the cancellation of the season. Markstrom, Pettersson, Boeser, Horvat and Miller all looked scary coming into the back half of the playoffs and would have made it a great wildcard matchup.
I think Vancouver is going to make quick work of Minnesota in the first game since the cancellation. I predict the Wild to start Stallock game one and take home the win, but then the Canucks wake up and take game two, three and four. But that also does not include the marathon of the season that precedes the playoffs and that should have an affect on all the teams.
Who knows, maybe the Stanley Cup Final is going to be the #11 New York Rangers vs the #11 Arizona Coyotes. Or we could have seeds one and two in the East and West finals. There is really no telling because nothing like this has ever happened before. All anybody can really say is that they’re happy to get back to hockey.