Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Wild, Hawks battle for series title

Apr 9, 2013, 8:03 AM EST

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 5: Bryan Bickell #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Justin Falk #44 of the Minnesota Wild get pulled apart by the referees during the NHL game on March 05, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Minnesota Wild host the Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The Blackhawks became the first team in the NHL to secure their spot in the postseason on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean they’ll take it easy over the final weeks of the season.

“We’ve had a good year to date and we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished,” coach Joel Queneville said in a CSN Chicago report. “But we still want to get better in games, and that’s the important thing. Finishing as high as we can is a priority as well. That’s where the motivation is.”

The Blackhawks are still in a battle for the first seed, but there’s no question that Minnesota needs these points more. The Wild have opened up a six-point lead on the ninth place Phoenix Coyotes, but they still have a shot at the Northwest Division title and the third seed that will come with it.

Even if they can’t best the Vancouver Canucks in the divisional race, only five points separate eighth and fourth place in the Western Conference, so every win counts when it comes to playoffs positioning. Then of course there’s the reality that if the Wild get on a losing streak now, they could still miss the playoffs entirely.

Playing against Chicago has been tough for any team this season, but the Wild actually enter this game with a chance to win their season series. They eked out a shootout victory over Chicago back in January to bring an end to the Blackhawks’ initial six-game winning streak. Chicago got its revenge last month when Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad led the Blackhawks to a 5-3 victory.

This will be the last meeting between these two squads in the regular season and is consequently both squads final chance to make an impression on the other before a possible playoffs series.

Probable goaltenders: CHI – Corey Crawford (15-4-4, 2.01 GAA, .922 SV%) | MIN – Niklas Backstrom (20-10-2, 2.44 GAA, .913 SV%)

Top scorers: CHI – Patrick Kane (20-26-46, 38 GP) | MIN – Mikko Koivu (9-24-33, 38 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Chicago – Forwards: Dave Bolland (lower body), Patrick Sharp (shoulder)
Minnesota – Forwards: Dany Heatley (wrist), Matt Cullen (lower body) Goaltenders: Josh Harding (symptoms related to multiple sclerosis)

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Martin St. Louis scores goal for 1,000th point

    Nov 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EST

    New York Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    Not bad for a little guy who wasn’t even drafted.

  2. Habs to healthy scratch Gilbert for first time this season

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:50 PM EST

    Chicago Blackhawks v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

    Veteran d-man will be parked in the press box in Buffalo tonight.

  3. A brief post on the unpredictable nature of goaltending

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:08 PM EST

    Ryan Strome, Semyon Varlamov, Zach Redmond AP

    Semyon Varlamov was brilliant last season, but not so much this season.

  4. Trotz wants more ‘interior presence’ from the Caps

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

    Buffalo Sabres v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    “Need a little more traffic, need second efforts.”

  5. Loktionov signs in KHL

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EST

    Andrei Loktionov Getty Images

    Former King, Devil and ‘Cane joins HC Lokomotiv.

  6. NHL on NBC: Rangers vs. Flyers in a Thanksgiving Showdown

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:45 AM EST

    Jakub Voracek, Dan Boyle AP

    Eat some leftovers and watch some quality afternoon hockey.

  7. As Columbus searches for ‘identity,’ Dubinsky resumes practicing

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:50 AM EST

    Brandon Dubinsky, Taylor Beck AP

    He could return in about a week if things progress well.

  8. How strong are the Predators, really?

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:59 AM EST

    Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators Getty Images

    Some numbers behind Nashville’s hot start.

  9. Video: Oilers awarded a penalty shot in overtime

    Nov 27, 2014, 10:50 PM EST

    Jordan Eberle Getty Images

    Shea Weber covered the puck in the crease.

  10. Hextall: ‘My biggest concern is consistency’

    Nov 27, 2014, 10:35 PM EST

    2013 NHL Draft Getty Images

    Flyers play host to the Rangers Friday afternoon.

Featured video

Eakins on his way out of Edmonton?

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (2711)
  2. V. Hedman (2674)
  3. P. Datsyuk (2456)
  4. D. Krejci (2161)
  5. P. Sharp (2117)
  1. B. Elliott (1926)
  2. Z. Chara (1798)
  3. S. Varlamov (1752)
  4. R. McDonagh (1704)
  5. B. Marchand (1680)