7PM Excel Energy Center St Paul, MN
TV: Comcast Sports Net Chicago
Radio: 720 AM WGN
The last time the Blackhawks were in St Paul, back on December 14th, the Minnesota Wild had the most points in the entire NHL. A lot has changed since then, as the Blackhawks have clinched a playoff spot and the Wild will be watching from home yet again. Minnesota has been playing well down the stretch and proved last Sunday they are not laying down for anybody. Josh Harding will get the start in net for the Wild. Harding is 1-1 with a 4.75 goals against average and a .857 save percentage against the Hawks in 2 starts this season. His season numbers have been decent with a 12-12-4 record with a 2.68 GAA and a .916 save %. Tom Gilbert has 6 points (1G, 5A) against the Hawks this season but all of those points, except for 1 assist, came while he was with Edmonton. Kyle Brodziak has scored 3 of his 22 goals this year against the Blackhawks. Matt Cullen (finger), Matt Kassian (groin), Steven Kampfer (lower body), Jared Spurgeon (concussion), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) and Mike Lundin (lower-body) are all out with injuries for the Wild.
The Blackhawks have their own list of walking wounded. Captain Jonathan Toews will miss his 21st straight game with a concussion but made the trip with the team and is hopeful to play Saturday in Detroit. Dave Bolland is out with an upper body injury but should be back on Saturday. Sami Lepisto is close to returning as well and could be on the ice in Detroit too. Dylan Olsen is a healthy scratch tonight and his spot will be taken by Sean O’Donnell. This move makes little sense to me. Duncan Keith is returning to the lineup after his 5 game suspension. The Hawks earned 6 points in those 5 games so it was a nice rest for Duncs going into the post season. Jimmy Hayes practiced with the Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa this morning. Brendan Morrison (yuck) took Bolland’s spot centering the 3rd line. Corey Crawford gets the start in goal for the Hawks and it is his first action versus the Wild this season. 2 points would be great but not adding anyone to the injury report is more important.