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

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Robbie Keane rescued on highway after running out of gas

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

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

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

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