Tonight the Minnesota Wild host (old friend, arch nemesis and thorn in the side) the Chicago Blackhawks at the X. Despite losing Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, Johnny Odyua, and Duncan Keith (due to injury) this Chicago team is still producing. Even though Chicago has ousted Minnesota in the last three years, the Wild have the leg up in the regular season going 32-22-3 all time and 2-3 against the Blackhawks last season. Minnesota is 8-6-1 in its last 15 games against Chicago with eight of the contests being decided by one goal and four going to a shootout.
Same lineup for the Wild tonight with Devan Dubnyk between the pipes. Dubnyk has not had the best of luck against Chicago going 4-6-0 with a 3.54 GAA, a .902 SV% and one shutout in 12 games (11 starts). Chicago will counter with Scott Darling who has never faced the Wild in his career. The Blackhawks are tied for second in the NHL with 1.90 goals allowed per game. Chicago is coming of the heels of a back-back, losing to Winnipeg last night. This is the first of five meetings between the two two teams, with the February 21st match-up at TCF Bank stadium for the NHL's stadium stadium series.
Some fine point streaking for some Wild players coming into tonight, Mikko Koivu tallied an assist Tuesday to stretch his point streak to seven games (4-3=7), matching his career-best point streak, done three times in his career. Thomas Vanek posted two assists Tuesday to earn his 149th career multi-point game and extended his point streak to four games(2-3=5). He ranks second on the Wild with four goals and is T-2nd on the club with eight points. Despite Vanek producing, not a lot seem to care as his "turnovers" have been a problem. There is no winning with him I guess. Puck drop tonight is at 7pm with the gamethread opening around 6:30. Go Wild!