Weekend preview: Moulson debuts, Canucks crashing and Rangers-Wings on NBC
A quick look ahead at some of the narratives at play this weekend...
Matt Moulson will play his first game for Minnesota on Saturday when the Wild take on the Stars in Dallas.
The former Sabres sniper -- acquired at Wednesday’s trade deadline -- is a three-time 30-goal scorer that should provide a huge boost for the goal-starved Wild. Minnesota only has 153 goals this year (24th in the NHL) with just two players, Jason Pominville and Zach Parise, in the 20-plus category. Moulson’s 17 instantly puts him third on the team.
Based on practices, it looks as though Moulson will debut on Minnesota’s second line alongside Charlie Coyle and captain Mikko Koivu. Wild head coach Mike Yeo was excited about the versatility Moulson brought to the lineup, noting he added depth among the top two lines.
“I liked the look of them before we went out on the ice and I liked the look of them after we came off the ice, too,” Yeo told the Star-Tribune. “I thought there was real good energy in our practice today. Obviously guys are excited.
“We felt really good about our team and where we were at going into this trade deadline and we feel that we’re a strong team now, we’re a deeper team. So we’re excited to put it to work now.”
Minnesota’s other new additions -- Cody McCormick and Ilya Bryzgalov -- are also likely to be in the mix on Saturday. McCormick has a shot to draw in on the Wild’s fourth line, while Bryzgalov will serve as Darcy Kuemper’s backup.
Vancouver is 1-8-1 in its last 10 and, on Thursday, was smashed 6-1 by Dallas -- a team the Canucks are chasing for the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference. To the observer, it looked as though Vancouver players had all but quit on beleaguered head coach John Tortorella; the flop came shortly after a listless 1-0 loss in Phoenix and the contentious Roberto Luongo trade.
Vancouver will look to try and get back on track Saturday when it takes on Calgary at Rogers Arena. This, of course, will be the first time the two taems met since Tortorella tried to attack Flames head coach Bob Hartley on Jan. 18, an incident that netted Torts a lengthy suspension.
NHL on NBC
The Rangers and Red Wings will meet for the third and final time this season on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC). If the first two games were any indication, Sunday’s affair should be tight -- the Rangers won the first meeting in OT (3-2) and the second was an old-fashioned goalie duel as the Blueshirts beat Detroit 1-0 on the strength of Henrik Lundqvist’s 38-save shutout.