Game Preview : Can You Go Streaking In The Snow?

Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago Blackhawks (41 pts 19-0-3) vs Minnesota Wild (24 pts 11-8-2) 7:30 PM United Center - Chicago IL, TV: CSN Chicago Radio: WGN 720 AM

Season Series

Date Score W. Goal
Apr 09 '13
Mar 05 '13
Jan 30 '13 CHI 2 at MIN 3 - SO M. Cullen

A little bit of snow is not going to stop the Blackhawks faithful for coming out to see the hottest team on the planet, especially on Pierre Pilote bobblehead night!! A lot of Hawks fans, and hockey fans in general, have been peeved with ESPN and one of their leading blow holes, Stephen A. Smith who tried to compare the Hawks' streak with the Miami Heat. ESPN is even sending a SportsCenter crew to the United Center for tonight's game. ESPN doesn't know shit about hockey and that's fine. Bottom line is the more people talking about the Blackhawks and the NHL is good for everyone involved, even if they are just Tebow licking, east coast biased, booya-ing jackholes! Don't let it bother you kids. If you don't want to get upset by what ESPN, or any other media outlet does, just don't watch or read them.

The Blackhawks will get Dave Bolland back tonight who will take his rightful spot on the 2nd line back. Bolland told reporters today that his upper body injury was not a concussion but rather something else that he would not elaborate on. Marcus Kruger will slide back down with the 4th line. Speaking of the 4th line Michael Frolik missed the morning skate due to an illness and is out for tonight's game. Brandon Bollig and Daniel Carcillo skated with Frogger this morning. Corey Crawford will get the start in net tonight who is 2-1-2 with a 1.82 GAA and a .927 save % in six career starts versus the Wild. The Hawks will all wear #81 tonight during warmups to honor Marian Hossa's 1000th career game. Each jersey will then be signed by Hossa and the player who wore it and auctioned off for Hossa's Heroes.

The Wild were the first team to put a blemish on the Blackhawks' record with a 3-2 shootout win back on Jan 30th. Tonight they can end their historic start and also prevent them from matching a franchise record for 10 straight regular season wins. Minnesota got off to a slow start after the league's "poorest owner" outbid every other team for both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The WIld have won five out of their last seven games and are now just two points behind the Vancouver Canucks in the Northwest Division. The Wild's 2.24 goals per game is 26th in the league so their recent hot streak has had some help from tonight's starting goalie Niklas Backstrom, who only has one loss in his late eight starts. Should be a fun one tonight! Just to give you a head's up, since today is my birthday and I'm celebrating tonight with 21,000 of my closest friends at the Madhouse, tomorrow's recap will probably be posted a bit later than usual.

Probable Chicago Blackhawks lineup

Forwards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg

Dan Carcillo - Marcus Kruger - Brandon Bollig

Defensive Pairings

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival

Goaltender

Corey Crawford 10-0-3, 1.41 GAA, .945 save %, 2 SO

Injuries

Michael Frolik (illness) OUT

Leading Scories

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
P. Kane 22 11 15 26 10 2 5 1
J. Toews 22 9 9 18 10 19 2 2
M. Hossa 22 9 8 17 6 12 2 3
P. Sharp 22 5 12 17 8 14 1 1
D. Keith 22 1 11 12 3 27 1 0

Probable Minnesota Wild lineup

Fowards

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Mikael Granlund - Dany Heatley

Michael Rupp - Kyle Brodziak - Torrey Mitchell

Defensive Pairings

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Justin Falk - Tom Gilbert

Jared Spurgeon - Clayton Stoner

Goaltender

Niklas Backstrom 9-5-2, 2.21 GAA, .917 save %, 0 SO

Injuries

Cal Cutterbuck (thigh) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
M. Koivu 21 4 13 17 -3 10 0 0
Z. Parise 21 8 7 15 -1 12 4 2
R. Suter 21 0 14 14 -5 8 0 0
D. Heatley 21 8 4 12 -4 6 3 1
M. Cullen 21 3 9 12 1 6 0 0

MIN
Stats
CHI
21 GP 22
11 W 19
8 L 0
2 OT 3
24 P 41
0.571 P% 0.932
2.24 G/G 3.04
2.38 GA/G 1.73
14.5 PP% 17.9
86.2 PK% 89.7
27.9 S/G 30.7
27.3 SA/G 27.2
53.2 FO% 50



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