|Apr 09 '13|
|Mar 05 '13||MIN 3 at CHI 5||M. Hossa|
|Jan 30 '13||CHI 2 at MIN 3 - SO||M. Cullen|
The last time we saw the Minnesota Wild they were in 10th place in the Western Conference with just 24 points. Since March 5, the Wild have gone 11-5, including a seven game win streak, to get themselves into 6th place in the West. The Blackhawks will be as close to full health as they have been in quite some time. Patrick Sharp will be making his return from a shoulder injury that has had him sidelined since March 6th. As much as Sharp's numbers were down before his injury, he is still a threat on the ice that defenses have to be aware of at all times. I would imagine Sharpie will be back on the 2nd line with Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger. It just wouldn't be a Blackhawks season without a "goalie controversy" would it? Ray Emery will get his 3rd straight tonight. Razor is 3-0-1, with a 2.88 GAA and a .906 save % in his career versus Minnesota.
Even thought the Wild have won 11 or their last 16 games, their win on Sunday over the Blue Jackets snapped a 3 game losing streak. The Wild have a new face in the lineup since we last saw them. They acquired Jason Pominville at the trade deadline from the Buffalo Sabres. He picked up his first 2 points in Minnesota during their win over Columbus. The win on Sunday was a costly one as Dany Heatley injured his shoulder, which required surgery, and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. This robs us of numerous DUI jokes during tonight's game. Niklas Backstrom will start tonight, which means he has played in 33 of the Wild's 38 games this year. I don't expect he will get too much rest down the stretch since the Wild are fighting to get into the playoffs. Backstrom is 5-7-1 with a 2.78 GAA, a good .915 save % and one shutout in 14 game versus the Hawks.
Probable Blackhawks lineup
Ray Emery 14-1-0, 2.02 GAA, .920 save %, 2 SO
Dave Bolland (lower body) OUT
Probable Wild lineups
Niklas Backstrom 20-10-2, 2.44 GAA, .913 save %, 2 SO
Dany Heatley (shoulder) OUT, Matt Cullen (lower body) OUT