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)
Nov 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EST
Not bad for a little guy who wasn’t even drafted.
Nov 28, 2014, 2:39 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 28, 2014, 1:50 PM EST
Veteran d-man will be parked in the press box in Buffalo tonight.
Nov 28, 2014, 1:36 PM EST
Minnesota’s in Dallas tonight.
Nov 28, 2014, 1:08 PM EST
Semyon Varlamov was brilliant last season, but not so much this season.
Nov 28, 2014, 12:08 PM EST
Rivals meet for the second time this season.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:37 AM EST
“And I say that with all due respect to the players we have.”
Nov 28, 2014, 11:35 AM EST
Nov 28, 2014, 11:22 AM EST
After missing the last 11 games with a separated shoulder.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:19 AM EST
“Need a little more traffic, need second efforts.”
Nov 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EST
Former King, Devil and ‘Cane joins HC Lokomotiv.
Nov 28, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
Eat some leftovers and watch some quality afternoon hockey.
Nov 28, 2014, 9:50 AM EST
He could return in about a week if things progress well.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:59 AM EST
Some numbers behind Nashville’s hot start.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:14 AM EST
Friday’s list of link savings.
Nov 28, 2014, 1:35 AM EST
Has appeared in five games with Chicago this season.
Nov 28, 2014, 12:15 AM EST
Forsberg scores the OT winner.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:50 PM EST
Shea Weber covered the puck in the crease.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:35 PM EST
Flyers play host to the Rangers Friday afternoon.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Was a healthy scratch in nine games.
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