The first period
Minnesota must weather the big offensive storms Vancouver always seems to throw at it. The Canucks had 12 shots on goal in the first period of Game 6. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson was a big key in keeping the Wild in the game, and they will need more of the same from whomever is in goal tonight.
|Dwayne Roloson's 12 first-period saves were huge for the Wild in Game 6.|
Can Gaborik keep it going?
Marian Gaborik is showing in his first playoff run that he is already an impact player, recording at least one point in each of the last eight games. He looks to me like a young Alexander Mogilny because of his shiftiness and scoring touch, and he is a threat to do something good every time he touches the puck.
Can Bertuzzi get it going?
Todd Bertuzzi has just one goal in 12 playoff games, but players like him can always get the scoring touch back. The Canucks just hope it comes back sooner rather than later. Bertuzzi has to allow himself to get banged around a little bit and put less focus on banging back, because Vancouver needs his scoring production more than his physical game.
Get the big guns firing
Bertuzzi is part of a line that was very successful during the regular season and he needs some help from his mates, because no one is ready to nominate Markus Naslund or Brendan Morrison for the Conn Smythe Trophy, either. That duo combined for 73 goals during the season but has just two in the last five games against Minnesota, and they need to come up big.
Forget about fatigue
The impact of playing back-to-back games is a little overblown. These are extremely well-conditioned athletes, and they are not playing extremely long shifts. There will be so much on the line in this game that no one should be sluggish, and unless there are multiple overtime periods we should see the same fresh legs we have seen throughout the series.
Bill Clement is a hockey analyst for ESPN. He played 11 seasons in the NHL as a center and won two Stanley Cups with the Philadelphia Flyers.