Game Preview : This Is Shooter's Tour

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks (62 pts 29-5-4) @ Minnesota Wild (46 pts 22-14-2) 7 PM Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, MN. TV: CSN Chicago Radio: WIND 560 AM

Season Series

Date Score W. Goal
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

Fowards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Patrick Kane
Viktor Stalberg - Michal Handzus - Bryan Bickell
Michael Frolik - Andrew Shaw - Dan Carcillo

Defensive Pairings

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Michal Rozsival

Goaltender

Ray Emery 14-1-0, 2.02 GAA, .920 save %, 2 SO

Injuries

Dave Bolland (lower body) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
P. Kane 38 20 26 46 14 4 8 2
J. Toews 38 19 21 40 22 23 2 4
M. Hossa 31 13 10 23 12 14 3 4
B. Saad 37 9 14 23 14 8 0 2
D. Keith 38 2 20 22 15 29 1 0

Probable Wild lineups

Fowards

Zach Parise -Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Mikael Granlund - Devin Setoguchi
Cal Clutterbuck - Kyle Brodziak - Charlie Coyle
Michael Rupp - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Defensive Pairings

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
Justin Falk - Tom Gilbert
Nate Prosser - Jared Spurgeon

Goaltender

Niklas Backstrom 20-10-2, 2.44 GAA, .913 save %, 2 SO

Injuries

Dany Heatley (shoulder) OUT, Matt Cullen (lower body) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
M. Koivu 38 9 24 33 8 22 0 3
Z. Parise 38 15 17 32 9 14 6 3
R. Suter 38 4 25 29 1 22 3 1
J. Pominville 39 11 16 27 1 8 1 1
M. Cullen 35 7 18 25 6 10 0 0

CHI
Stats
MIN
38 GP 38
29 W 22
5 L 14
4 OT 2
62 P 46
0.816 P% 0.605
3.24 G/G 2.6
2.08 GA/G 2.53
16.9 PP% 18.5
85.6 PK% 82.4
31.5 S/G 28.4
26.2 SA/G 27.9
50.6 FO% 52.3


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