Game #39- Chicago Blackhawks (29-5-4) at Minnesota Wild (22-14-2)
Game Time-7pm Central
TV- NBCSN, CSN-Chicago
Season Series- Series is tied with both teams winning on home ice. The Wild won in a shootout in January to put the first blemish on the Hawks record this season while the Hawks got revenge with a 5-3 win at the United Center.
Preview-The Wild are fighting for the Northwest Division with the Hawks favorite team to hate in the Vancouver Canucks. The Wild have lost three out of four but tonight’s game is the start of a lot of home games for the Wild with a three game home-stand and 6 out of 9 games in Minnesota. The Wild are a very good team on home ice while extremely average on the road. The Wild’s leading scorer is the hometown hero that came home in Zach Parise with 15 goals while Mikko Koivu leads the team in points with 33. Niklas Backstrom has started all but 10 of the Wild’s games with a 20-10-2 record with a .913 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA and he will have his hands full facing the Blackhawks offense.
The Hawks were the first team to clinch a playoff spot and now it seems though they only have 5 losses the Hawks rivals are going to pick away at the weaknesses of the the Hawks for the next three weeks until the playoffs begin. The Hawks have only home ice advantage to play for but they have things to work on like playing 60 minutes and winning face-offs in their own end. Brandon Saad has scored in four out of the last five games while Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are fighting it out for leading goal scorer with Kane collecting his 20th in Sunday night’s game. Ray Emery gets his third straight start, and the best news of all is that Patrick Sharp returns to the lineup after missing over a month with a shoulder injury.
Prediction- The Wild are very good in the Twin Cities and with this being the first game after clinching the Wild will put the Hawks to the test with another OT game with the Hawks pulling it out 4-3 with a Kane highlight shootout winner.
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