Apr 9, 2013, 8:03 AM EST
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.
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)
Dec 13, 2013, 8:15 AM EST
That and all the links to start your day ahead.
Dec 13, 2013, 2:02 AM EST
All three San Jose goals came on the power play.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:30 AM EST
But they snapped that 10-game losing streak the other day.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:03 AM EST
His inconsistent season continues.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:36 AM EST
Quite the funk they’re in when it comes to this aspect.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:17 AM EST
Bet these guys were tired after.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:57 PM EST
What a day in Calgary. More Brian Burke!
Dec 12, 2013, 11:34 PM EST
Yeah, these are tough times.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:10 PM EST
Didn’t think too highly of it.
Dec 12, 2013, 10:45 PM EST
But two points eluded them.
Dec 12, 2013, 10:23 PM EST
Dec 12, 2013, 10:06 PM EST
And it’s getting worse in New York.
Dec 12, 2013, 9:17 PM EST
Nice moment in Philly.
Dec 12, 2013, 9:04 PM EST
Montreal defenseman’s night ends early.
Dec 12, 2013, 8:52 PM EST
Jonathan Bernier takes over.
Dec 12, 2013, 8:15 PM EST
Tough time to be a Columbus goalie.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:39 PM EST
Cam Talbot was cheered upon entering the game.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:10 PM EST
No word on the severity of TT’s injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 6:27 PM EST
He’s been out with a lower-body injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 5:17 PM EST
Oilers coach wants to use “speed” and “smarts” tonight.
- Wild coach accuses Sharks of embellishment 24
- Lundqvist hooked after three first-period goals as Rangers’ woes continue 23
- Burke wants the Flames to be — yep, you guessed it — more ‘truculent’ 42
- Flames fire GM Jay Feaster 36
- Video: Projected rise in salary cap could have some players ‘licking their lips’ 19
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 37
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 83
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 13
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 33
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (184)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)