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game preview

Game One: Wild at Blackhawks

Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 2:40 PM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

Pregame Coverage presented by Best Buy
Minnesota Wild (26-19-3: 55 points, No. 8 seed in Western Conference, 2nd in Northwest Division) at Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5 77 points, No. 1 seed in Western Conference, 1st in Central Division)
The wait is finally over State of Hockey. The Minnesota Wild kicks off the Western Conference Quarterfinals on the road tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The dual offseason signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter paid dividends, helping guide the Wild to its fist postseason berth in five years. However, it was a team effort to make the playoffs and the Wild isn’t satisfied with just getting in. It wasn’t easy, as Minnesota was the final team in the National Hockey League to clinch a playoff spot, but as everyone knows, the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a second season.

Minnesota has a big task ahead in the opening round, facing a Blackhawks team that rolled through the regular season with the National Hockey League’s best record. Minnesota will need everyone on board and play a smart game to take out a deep Hawks club.

Getting off to a good start, especially in as hostile an environment as the United Center, will be key for Minnesota. On the year, the Wild is 9-2-1 when leading after the first period and 18-1-1 when leading after two. Consequently, Chicago holds onto leads like a pit bull with a T-bone, going 17-1-1 after a first period lead and 26-1-2 when leading after two.  

The Wild went 1-2-0 against the Blackhawks this season. Minnesota took the first contest in a 3-2 shoot­out victory at Xcel Energy Center Jan. 30 while Chicago took the last two contests, 5-3, at United Center March 5 and 1-0 at Xcel Energy Center April 9.

UPDATED: The Wild will be without forward Jason Pominville. The forward was a full participant in practice yesterday, but didn't skate with the team this morning. He missed the final two games of the regular season with an upper-body injury. 

Yesterday, the Wild recalled defenseman Marco Scandella from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. If the blueliner joins the lineup, he'd likely be paired with Jared Spurgeon tonight. He and Spurgeon were paired together for much of last season, and can have an impact together on the back end.

Saturday, the Wild clinched a playoff spot in a must-wing game on the road against the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1. It was a tense affair, with the Wild holding onto a one-goal lead for the entire third period. Zach Parise scored the game’s opening goal. Devin Setoguchi scored the winning goal in the second period on a power play. Pierre-Marc Bouchard iced the game with an empty-net goal just before time expired. Niklas Backstrom was stellar in net, making 29 saves for his 24th win of the season.

The Blackhawks closed out its regular season with a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Ben Smith scored the lone goal for Chicago. Carter Hutton was in net and made 28 saves in the loss. 
Meet The Blues If You're Going
Chicago won the President Trophy with the NHL’s best regular season record. Stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who both had MVP-caliber seasons, lead the Hawks’ offense. Kane was the Hawks leading scorer with 55 points (23-32=55), while Toews has more of a two-way impact but still averaged just better than a point-per-game with 48 points (23-25=48).
Get there early, because Hawks’ National Anthem singer Jim Cornelison is going to have a lot of backup singers. If you’re in the Madhouse on Madison, you’ll want to witness it in person. 

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Zach Parise led Minnesota in points (38), goals (18), game-winning goals (4), and T-3rd in assists (20) in his first season with the Wild. He ranked third amongst all NHL players in shots (182) and 14th amongst all NHL forwards in time on ice per game.

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 | Brodin Pregame | Brodziak Pregame | Spurgeon Pregame |
PONDcast
Wild at CHI |
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
With Pominville out, here’s what the lines will likely look like:

Coyle – Koivu – Parise
Zucker – Cullen – Setoguchi
  Clutterbuck– Brodziak – Bouchard
Mitchell – Konopka – Rupp

If Scandella is back on the blue line, here are what the pairs will likely look like:

Brodin – Suter
Scandella – Spurgeon
Gilbert – Stoner

Niklas Backstrom co-leads the Wild All-Time Playoff list in games played and games started with Dwayne Roloson (11). Backstrom leads the list in saves (287), shots faced (315) and minutes played (658) while ranking second in wins (3) and third in save percentage (.911).
View From The Press Box
Getting here is very important, but we're not satisfied with just getting here, and things can change in a hurry - there are sacrifices to be made and make sure everybody keeps a good attitude and at their best and ready everyday.

- Yeo on the team in the playoffs
If there are no changes on the blue line, Brett Clark, Justin Falk and Nate Prosser will be the healthy scratches.

Dany Heatley is out for the rest of the season following arthriscopic shoulder surgery.
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. In the regular season, the Wild had the league’s second-best road power play, scoring 16 of its 68 chances for 23.5 percent. The Hawks home penalty kill was 15th in the league, allowing 11 goals on 71 chances.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild at Chicago will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North and nationally on NBC Sports Network with a start time of 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
Harding 4 Masterton | Infographic: Suter 4 Calder | Infographic: Brodin 4 Calder | Five Takeaways at COL | Prospects Report - April 26 | Aeros Comeback Falls Short |
WildTV
Yeo - April 29 | Parise - April 29 | Suter - April 29 | BW: The Clincher |
PONDcast
PONDcast - April 29 |
Photo Gallery
Wild at COL - April 27 |

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
May 09 '13MIN 1 at CHI 5M. Kruger
May 07 '13CHI 3 at MIN 0P. Sharp
May 05 '13CHI 2 at MIN 3 - OTJ. Zucker
May 03 '13MIN 2 at CHI 5P. Sharp
Apr 30 '13MIN 1 at CHI 2 - OTB. Bickell
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. Clutterbuck1101+1000
C. Stoner1011+1000
P. Bouchard1000+1000
K. Brodziak1000+1000
M. Cullen1000+0000
M. Koivu1000+0200
T. Gilbert1000+0200
Z. Parise1000+0200
D. Setoguchi1000+0000
M. Scandella1000+0000
J. Spurgeon1000+0000
J. Zucker1000+0000
C. Coyle1000+0000
J. Brodin1000+0000
M. Rupp1000-1000
Z. Konopka1000-1000
R. Suter1000-1000
T. Mitchell1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding10-12371.56.946
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Hossa1101+0010
B. Bickell1101+0001
J. Oduya1011+0200
D. Keith1011+0200
V. Stalberg1011+0000
P. Kane1011+0000
M. Handzus1000+0000
M. Rozsival1000+0200
P. Sharp1000+0000
B. Seabrook1000+0000
N. Hjalmarsson1000+0200
M. Frolik1000+0000
J. Toews1000+0000
N. Leddy1000+0000
M. Kruger1000+0000
B. Bollig1000+0000
A. Shaw1000+0000
B. Saad1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Crawford11-01270.78.963
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