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GAMEDAY: Wild at Hawks

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Minnesota Wild (11-8-2: 24 points, T-5th in Western Conference, 2nd in Northwest Division) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (19-0-3: 41 points, 1st in Western Conference, 1st in Central Division)

In this compacted 48-game season, every time the Minnesota Wild hits the ice the game seems to be magnified. Well, tonight the Wild will be under the national microscope as the club tries to hand the streaking Chicago Blackhawks its first regulation loss of the season.

The first time these two teams met on Jan. 30, the Wild beat the Hawks in a 3-2 shootout, giving Chicago its first loss of the season. However, the Blackhawks have gained a point in its first 22 games of the season, setting a National Hockey League record for most games with a point to start a season, losing only three games in shootouts.

The Wild, and every other team in the Western Conference for that matter, wants to be the team to hand the Hawks its first blemish on the year. With the Wild playing some of its best hockey of the season of late, a win in The Windy City would be a nice notch as the club continues to try and gain footing in the West, currently more jam-packed than Rush Street on a Saturday night.  

As the Wild skates to bring down the Hawks, Torrey Mitchell will play in his 300th NHL game. In four seasons with San Jose and this one with Minnesota, Mitchell has totaled 75 points (31-44=75) and a plus-3 rating.

The Wild put together a strong performance on Sunday night, topping the Edmonton Oilers, 4-2. Minnesota outshot the Oilers, 43-21, on the way to victory. Jared Spurgeon got the Wild on the board in the first period, firing a wrist shot from the point past Edmonton netminder Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers would even the score later in the first and the teams would remain tied until nine seconds into the third period. Mikko Koivu started the Wild’s offensive burst off the opening draw with a wired wrist shot to the glove side. Charlie Coyle scored the eventual game winner with a backhand on an odd-man rush. Dany Healtey redirected an insurance goal on the power play later in the period. Niklas Backstrom closed the door on the Oilers, making 19 saves for the win.

It looked like the Detroit Red Wings might be the first team to defeat Chicago in 60 minutes of hockey, when Patrick Kane scored a power play with 2:02 left in regulation to send the game into overtime Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. After a scoreless OT, Kane used a patented slow-down, multiple-deke move to beat Jimmy Howard and give Chicago a 2-1 victory. Corey Crawford made 24 saves in the victory. 
Meet The Hawks If You're Going
The Blackhawks 22-game point streak has garnered national media attention, with talking heads from various outlets, some who claim to not know about the existence of certain NHL franchises, commenting on the streak.

Two young and very different superstars, in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, lead the Hawks. The duo is first and second on the team in scoring, respectively, with 26 (11-15=26) points and 18 (9-9=18) points. 
Get to the United Center early and find your seats for the National Anthem. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

The first 10,000 fans in attendance will take home a Pierre Pilote Bobblehead.

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Right wing Devin Setoguchi has a four-game point streak (1-4=5), his longest as a member of the Wild. He has totaled 11 points (4-7=11) and two game-winning goals on the season. A point tonight would match Zach Parise’s team season-high five-game point streak (1/19-1/27).

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge presented by the Pioneer Press for a chance to win great prizes.
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
Yeo Gameday | Koivu Gameday | Parise Gameday | Brodziak Gameday | Brodin Gameday
Wild at CHI Preview Toews/Quennville
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
Looks like the Wild will roll out the same forwards as Sunday:

Parise – Koivu – Coyle
Zucker – Cullen – Setoguchi
Heatley – Granlund – Bouchard
Mitchell – Brodziak – Rupp

Same as on the blue line:

Suter – Brodin
Spurgeon – Stoner
Falk – Gilbert

Niklas Backstrom is 6-1-1 in his last eight starts with a 1.70 GAA and a .932 SV%, allowing more than two goals just twice in that span. Monday he was named the NHL’s 3rd Star of the Week. At United Center, Backstrom is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .945 SV%.
View From The Press Box
"I love it. I'm excited about it for sure. We just have to play our game. We're a darn good team, too."

- Yeo talking about facing the Blackhawks
Forward Zenon Konopka and defenseman Nate Prosser are expected to be tonight’s healthy scratches.

Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) and Josh Harding (treatment for multiple sclerosis) are both on Injured Reserve and did not travel with the team. 
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
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. Chicago is unbeaten in regulation in its last 28 games dating back to last season to match the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens for the second-longest run in NHL history. The NHL record of 35 games, set by Philadelphia in 1979-80, was snapped by a Minnesota team – the North Stars (1/6/80).
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild at Blackhawks will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.

Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
Prospects Report - Feb. 27 | Visions Of Perfection | Backstrom No. 3 Star of Week | Plays of the Week | Five Takeaways vs. EDM
Yeo Postgame - March 3 | Backstrom March 3 | Spurgeon March 3 | Coyle March 3 | Koivu March 3
Prospects PONDcast
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. EDM - March 3
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