Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 3/18/13
MONDAY'S STORYLINES: The battle for the Northwest Division lead continues tonight in Vancouver as the Wild take on the Canucks. The winner of tonight's game will take sole possession of first place. The Wild currently hold the lead. "It is huge right now. It is the biggest game of the year," said forward Kyle Brodziak. Vancouver notoriously hasn't been a friendly place for Minnesota, the Wild are 0-9-2 in their last 11 games in Vancouver and they know they will have a challenge tonight. In the team's last meeting in Vancouver on February 12 the Wild played well, but lost 2-1. It can be argued the Wild are a very different team than the one that took the ice that night. The team that is taking the ice tonight is more confident one that believes they can win any game. Minnesota is 9-4-1 since the teams' last meeting in Vancouver. "We are playing with a lot more confidence there is a lot more confidence in the room," said forward Zach Parise. "Our mentality and our approach has changed where it is more we come into game expecting to win now as opposed to kind of going into the first period and seeing how it goes, but now we are playing with more authority and you can tell we just have more confidence up and down the rink it is a lot of fun." Part of authority is establishing themselves early in the game and having a consistent effort for a full 60 minutes. The Wild have scored first in their last seven games and are 5-2-0 over that time span. Mike Yeo knows getting out hot is important. "We have to be ready to start. What is most important to me is playing complete games and the start is huge part of that," Yeo said. The other part of that story is we have been able to stay with it the rest of the game and getting a first goal is nice but what we have been really stressing here is that making sure we score first they score first, who we are playing where we are playing that we go out and play the same way shift after shift." The Wild are also a more complete team than the one that took the ice in Vancouver on February 12. They are getting contributions from all four lines, something that has been a key to their recent success. In the last four games Minnesota has scored 16 goals, those goals have come from 11 different goal scorers. "It is huge hopefully it takes some pressure off our big lines, they have been going very solid for us all year long. It is a lot of pressure if they don't have any help. The third and fourth lines feel like we are starting to play well and start to be able to create some things. Hopefully we can continue that and keep the pressure off those guys," added Brodziak. RUPP OUT: Mike Rupp (Lower Body) is out of the lineup tonight. Jason Zucker will be back in the lineup. POWERLESS CANUCKS: Vancouver is 0-30 on the power play in their last 11 games. STRONG PENALTY KILL: The Wild have only allowed three power play goals in 34 opportunities over the last 13 games. BACKSTROM BACK IN NET: Niklas Backstrom, who is 10-3-1 in his last 14 starts, will get the nod. HE SAID IT: "It is unbelievable you stress yourself out sometimes. You go from third all the way to ninth all the way overnight without and you don't even play. I haven't seen anything like that. There is usually more separation in the East but now I understand it." Parise on the tight race in the West.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

USMNT are big favorites against Canada

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

‘Actor’ Todd Gurley wants to make ‘billions’

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker