The Wild rolls into the Windy City on a two-game win streak, and looks to earn its first victory against the Chicago Blackhawks this season. The Wild and Hawks haven’t faced off since Jan. 12, a 5-2 win by Chicago at the United Center. Minnesota dropped a 4-3-shootout decision to the Blackhawks on Dec. 14. This is almost a home-in-home series, as the Wild and Hawks will conclude their season series at Xcel Energy Center on Friday, April 5.
After playing last night against the Los Angeles Kings, the Wild didn’t have a morning skate in Chicago. Minnesota will be without Steven Kampfer
tonight, and Marco Scandella
missed yesterday’s contest with an upper body injury. Scandella is considered day-to-day, but will likely be in tonight. The Wild also is without forward Warren Peters
, who went head-first into the boards last night. Minnesota has recalled Cody Almond
for tonight's game.
The Wild beat the Kings in a thrilling 4-3 shootout at Xcel Energy Center yesterday. Darroll Powe
and Nick Johnson
scored in the first period, and Erik Christensen
scored in the third period to send the game into overtime. With no scoring in the extra frame, Christensen and Mikko Koivu
scored in the shootout to secure the victory for the Wild. Niklas Backstrom
made 26 saves in regulation and stopped two shootout attempts for the win. Appearing in his second NHL game, Jason Zucker
added two assists, as did defenseman Justin Falk
The Hawks almost blew a 4-0 lead at Nashville yesteday. The Predators rallied to even the score 4-4, but a goal by Brent Seabrook put Chicago back in front and the Hawks held on for the win, 5-4. Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane and Vicktor Stalberg all scored for Chicago, while Corry Crawford made 22 saves for the win.
Wild at Blackhawks will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 6:00 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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Tonight is the Hawks’ final home game of the regular season and the team is hosting fan appreciation night. Chicago will give away a Blackhawks travel umbrella to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.
With a 5-4 win against the Predators, the Hawks assured themselves of a fourth straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the team enter its final regular-season home game, the Hawks have a chance to climb as high as fourth place in the Western Conference, which would give them home ice in the opening round of playoffs.
Eric Christensen has six goals in his last 10 games. The man the Wild calls “Crusher” had the tying goal in Minnesota’s last two wins against Florida and Los Angeles. Christensen also scored the 13th shootout-clinching goal of his career against the Kings.
The Wild continues to play hard – knocking off playoff hopefuls Florida and Los Angeles in its last two games home games by rallying to tie in the third period before getting the winner in overtime (versus the Panthers) and a shootout (against the Kings). Minnesota isn’t just content on playing the role of “spoiler,” as Head Coach Mike Yeo and the Wild looks to build momentum heading into the off season.
continues to be an ice-chewing defenseman, logging more than 30 minutes against the Kings for the third time this season. He has led the team in total ice time in 12 of his first 16 games with the Wild. The Bloomington native skated in his 400th NHL game against the Kings yesterday.
didn’t finish the game yesterday and the Wild has recalled Almond:
didn’t travel with the team, so Marco Scandella
, who didn’t play yesterday due to an upper body injury, will likely rejoin the lineup:
The Wild didn’t have a morning skate, so tonight’s starting goaltender hasn’t been announced. Backstrom is 4-6-1 with a 2.74 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and has one shutout in 12 career starts against Chicago, while Josh Harding
is 4-3-0 with a 2.33 goal against average, a .934 save percentage and one shutout in seven games versus the Blackhawks.
All healthy players will be in tonight's lineup.
Scandella is considered day-to-day with an upper body injury, but with only six defensemen, he will likely be in. Kampfer left yesterday’s contest with an undisclosed injury and didn’t travel with the team. Peters also didn't make the trip after going head-first into the boards. Jared Spurgeon
is out indefinitely with a concussion. Matt Kassian
(sports hernia) has been shut down for the season. Matt Cullen
had surgery on a broken finger and is out for the remainder of the season. Mike Lundin
is shut down for the season after having surgery on a sports hernia. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Guillaume Latendresse
are on Injured Reserve with concussions.
"We take a lot more satisfaction out of doing things the right way and keeping up with the standards we have for ourselves than we do in beating somebody else and hurting their chances."
-- Mike Yeo on the way that the Wild wants to play for the rest of the season
Andrew Brunette skated six seasons (2001-04, 2008-11) with the Wild and ranks second on the team’s leaders in goals (119), points (321) and power play goals (55), and fourth in assists (202). D Nick Leddy was the Wild’s first round pick (16th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and is a native of Eden Prairie. D Dylan Olsen played at UMD.
Minnesota has allowed two goals or fewer in 36 of 78 games. The team is 29-6-3 when allowing two goals or fewer and 5-29-7 when yielding three or more.