The Blackhawks make their second of three trips this season to Xcel Energy Center today. The teams met in back-to-back games in late October, each winning on road ice.
Chicago has won two straight regular season meetings at Xcel Energy Center and hasn’t lost here in regulation since a 3-2 Wild win on Oct. 27, 2008.
After today, the Wild plays eight of its next 10 games on the road, including tomorrow night in Columbus. Minnesota is tied with St. Louis for the most home wins (11) in the NHL, which includes its most recent tilt, a 2-0 shutout victory over the Flyers Monday night. Josh Harding recorded his third shutout of the season and was honored as the NHL's Third Star of November the following day. Jason Pominville and Charlie Coyle netted the Wild's tallies.
Chicago lost 4-3 at home to Dallas on Tuesday, after ending its annual circus road trip (this one seven games) when the circus takes over United Center. It’s right back on the road for the defending Stanley Cup champions, but that’s no problem for them, having won the final six games of the recent road trip.
Chicago lost to the Stars Tuesday despite enjoying a 50-18 shot advantage. That marked the seventh time this season the Blackhawks have had 40 or more shots, including a pair of 50-shot outings.
Meet The Blackhawks
The Blackhawks lead the NHL in wins (20), points (44), goals (105) and road wins (11). Leading scorer Patrick Kane is a minus-1, but they’ve got seven players with a double-digit plus-minus rating; led by Marian Hossa at +16.
If You’re Going
Wives and girlfriends of Wild players will be accepting Wells Fargo Toys for Tots donations at all gates before the game. If you forgot to bring your item — swing by the Hockey Lodge and pick something up.
The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Mikko Koivu netted 14 points (5-9=14) in November, including three game-tying or winning goals in the final five minutes of regulation; he tied the game with six seconds left in regulation Nov. 30 at COL, won the game with 2:57 remaining at OTT on Nov. 20, and won the game with 3:12 remaining vs. WPG Nov. 17.
Mike Yeo wasn’t ready to tip his hand on which of the fourth-line forwards will be out tonight. It might be the same lineup as Monday vs Philadelphia:
Between the Pipes
Josh Harding has been great all season, but especially at home, going 11-1-0 with a 1.12 GAA and a .949SV%. He’s coming off his third shutout - all at home - to set a new career-high.
Harding was injured and missed both the Wild’s games versus the Blackhawks this season. He faced Chicago in the first round of the 2013 Playoffs after Niklas Backstrom was injured in warm-ups prior to Game 1.
Yeo Quote of the Day
“When our power play is struggling, it’s hard to get in any kind of rhythm. And we haven’t had the practice time too. When you’re getting two power plays a game, tops, right now, it’s tough to really give these guys a chance to work out of it.”
-Yeo on working on the power play in practice Wednesday.
View from the Press Box
Mikael Granlund is on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident
D Nick Leddy is a native of Eden Prairie.
Minnesota has earned points in 14-of-15 games decided by one goal this season (9-1-5). Only Chicago (10-2-4) and Los Angeles (11-3-4) have more wins and points from one-goal games. Six of the last seven Wild wins have all decided by one goal.
Wild vs. Chicago will be broadcast nationally in high definition on NHL Network and locally on FOX Sports North with a start time at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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