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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Blackhawks

Tuesday, 04.09.2013 / 1:40 PM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (22-14-2: 46 points, 6th in Western Conference, 2nd in Northwest Division) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (29-5-4: 62 points, 1st in Western Conference, 1st in Central Division)
With only 10 games remaining in the Minnesota Wild’s regular season, the club continues to make a push for the playoffs. However, it’s still a long road, fraught with challenges, in the drive for the postseason—despite the dwindling game count.

Kicking off a three-game home stand, the Wild’s test tonight is the team atop the Western Conference: The Chicago Blackhawks. This marks the third and final meeting between the two teams, splitting the first two games. Minnesota took the first contest in a 3-2 shootout victory at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 30, while Chicago took the second, 5-3, at United Center on March 5.

Minnesota returns home after a three-game road trip, taking the final game in Columbus two days ago. Home ice has been kind to the Wild, posting a 13-4-1 record in Saint Paul this year. Six of the club’s final 10 games will be played in the friendly confines of Xcel Energy Center.

Sunday, the Wild topped the Blue Jackets, 3-0, on the strength of a 24-save shutout by goaltender Niklas Backstrom. It was Backstrom’s NHL-leading 20th win of the season. The Wild was powered by two second-period power play goals, off the sticks of defenseman Ryan Suter and rookie Charlie Coyle. Jason Pominville picked up his first point in a Wild sweater, with an assist on Suter’s goal, and iced the game with his first goal with the club.

The Blackhawks rallied from a one-goal third period deficit to top the Nashville Predators, 5-3, at home on Sunday. The Hawks trailed the Preds, 3-2, heading into the final frame but exploded for three third-period goals. Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored 55 seconds apart midway through the third, and Patrick Kane iced the game with an empty netter. Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell also scored for Chicago. Ray Emery made 19 saves to earn the victory.

Wild forward Dany Heatley will undergo surgery today for an upper-body injury, suffered on April 3 against the San Jose Sharks. There is no timetable for Heatley’s return.  
Meet The Hawks If You're Going
Chicago became the first team to punch its ticket to the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with its win against Nashville. It was the fourth win in five games for Chicago, which seems likely to coast to a Central Division title as the season winds down. The Wild “Better Halves” are hosting a Mystery Hat sale. A $50 purchase guarantees you a Wild autographed hat by one of the following Minnesota Wild Players. Wild Better Halves will sell hats near sections 104 and 121 from the time gates open, while supplies last.  Proceeds benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation.

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Pominville tallied his first two points in a Wild sweater on Sunday. He has four points in his past three games dating back to his final outing with the Buffalo Sabres.

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.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo Pregame | Pominville Pregame | Brodin Pregame | Coyle Pregame |
PONDcast
Wild vs. CHI
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
All healthy forwards are in the lineup tonight:

Pominville – Koivu – Parise
Coyle – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Bouchard – Granlund – Setoguchi
Rupp – Konopka – Mitchell

If the D-pairings remain the same as Sunday:

Brodin – Suter
Spurgeon – Stoner
Falk – Prosser 

Backstrom is 5-7-1 with a 2.78 GAA, a .915 SV% and one shutout in 14 games (13 career starts against Chicago).
View From The Press Box
What you saw tonight is what our game is supposed to look like.

- Yeo on Sunday’s win against Columbus
If the blue line is the same as Sunday, Tom Gilbert and Brett Clark will be tonight’s healthy scratches.

Heatley will be out after having surgery. Matt Cullen is unavailable due to a lower-body injury. Josh Harding is on Injured Reserve as he continues treatment for multiple sclerosis. 
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. Minnesota matched its season high by scoring two power-play goals for the fourth time this season Sunday. On Feb. 25, the Wild ranked 27th in the NHL on the power play at 13.8 percent. Since Feb. 26, only three teams have scored more power-play goals than Minnesota’s 16. The Wild is now 13th overall (18.5%). Minnesota is 13-6-1 when scoring a PPG and 9-8-1 when it is stopped on the advantage.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Chicago will be broadcast nationally in high definition on NBC Sports Network with a start time at 7:00 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.
 
Wild.com
Wild Timeline: A Welcome Surprise | Five Takeaways at CBJ | Prospect Report - April 3 | Wild Signs Haula
WildTV
Yeo - April 7 | Pominville - April 7 | Coyle - April 7 | Backstrom - April 7 |
PONDcast
Wild vs. CBJ - April 7 |
Photo Gallery
Wild at CBJ - April 7 |

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 09 '13 CHI 1 at MIN 0 M. Hossa
Mar 05 '13 MIN 3 at CHI 5 M. Hossa
Jan 30 '13 CHI 2 at MIN 3 - SO M. Cullen
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
P. Kane39202646+15482
J. Toews39192140+232324
M. Hossa32141024+131435
B. Saad3891423+14802
D. Keith3922022+162910
B. Bickell3981220+82101
V. Stalberg3971219+141701
P. Sharp2551318+71411
B. Seabrook3861117+81711
N. Leddy3961016+151022
D. Bolland307714-41811
A. Shaw398513+43221
M. Kruger393912+62202
M. Rozsival2201111+171200
J. Oduya392810+91000
M. Frolik37369+6801
N. Hjalmarsson39189+131800
M. Handzus32123-61200
J. Hayes9123+0000
D. Carcillo19112+01101
J. Mayers16022+21600
S. Brookbank20101-11700
J. Morin2101+1000
B. Bollig20000+14700
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Crawford2315-4-4455802.01.922
R. Emery1915-1-0334341.90.924
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu3992433+72203
Z. Parise39151732+81663
R. Suter3942529+12231
J. Pominville40111627+0811
M. Cullen3571825+61000
D. Setoguchi39121224+62042
D. Heatley36111021-12831
P. Bouchard3441115+3802
J. Spurgeon305914+5442
K. Brodziak396410-15811
C. Coyle28639+61112
T. Gilbert34369-131610
J. Brodin36279+61010
C. Clutterbuck33358-72700
C. Stoner39088+22800
T. Mitchell36437-42101
M. Granlund22167-3400
J. Zucker14415+5600
M. Rupp35134-16700
J. Falk32033-63800
M. Scandella6101-1400
Z. Konopka33000-210000
N. Prosser17000+4400
D. Powe8000+1900
B. Clark3000-4000
J. Larsson1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom3320-11-2758802.39.915
D. Kuemper51-2-091171.98.923
J. Harding41-1-07612.92.885
M. Hackett10-1-05335.08.848
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