Tonight, its a showdown in Chicago between two bitter central division rivals. This is Minnesota's first time playing Chicago since they eliminated the Wild in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. Chicago has been red hot for the last month, winning 12 of their last 14 games dating back to Nov. 16, and has outscored its opponents 50-24 in that span. They also boast the NHL's best penalty-kill percentage at 90.9% this season. We do know that Duncan Keith will not dress tonight as he is out with an illness. Antti Raanta will start between the pipes for Chicago and is 0-1-0 with a 2.08 GAA and a .895 SV% in one career start against Minnesota
The Blackhawks have earned points in nine of their last twelve games against the Wild dating back to the 2011-12 season. Minnesota has yet to lose a division game in regulation, but have not faced division leading Chicago. Darcy Kuemper will start for the Wild tonight. Kuemper is 1-0-0 with a 1.22 GAA and a .959 SV% in two career games (one start). The Wild are 6-3-1 in its last 10 games against Chicago with seven of the contests being decided by one goal and four going to a shootout. Ryan Suter leads the Wild with 29 points (4-25=29) in 52 games vs. Chicago, his highest point total against any teat. Jared Spurgeon will most likely not be able to dress for the 2nd consecutive game because of a stomach-virus.
Brett Sutter will make his Wild debut tonight playing on the 4th line as Ryan Carter is out with an upper-body-injury. Sutter had bounced around from team-team for the last seven years and is Los Angeles Kings coach, Darryl Sutter's son. Check back at 7:15 for the gamethread for any last minute changes. Go Wild.