The day is finally here, outdoor hockey is finally a reality in the state of hockey. This afternoon the Blackhawks and Wild embrace the elements at TCF Bank Stadium. Not to mention the home debut for John Torchetti. Minnesota has lost its last eight "home" games. Maybe a little breath of fresh air (couldn't help myself) will give the Wild better luck. Devan Dubnyk suffered a scare in practice yesterday taking a shot off his fricken neck but he brushed it off and will start between the pipes. Marco Scandella also returned to practice and is back in the lineup in place of Nate Prosser. He skated with Christian Folin in practice yesterday and Mike Reilly was paired with Matt Dumba . No changes to the lineup and rightfully so scoring fifteen in goal in the last three games. Erik Haula is playing like a man possessed telling media that it's the best he's felt since the 2014 playoffs. You need four lines to compete with Chicago so Minnesota needs its absolute best from all four lines.
The Blackhawks are in familiar territory leaving the way in the Central division with 81 points on the season so far. Patrick Kane is having a monster season and there's still 25-plus games left. Chicago is sixth in goals per game and has allowed the fifth fewest goals per game. Corey Crawford has been solid between the pipes posting a 2.21 goals per average this season. I wonder if the Craaawwwfffooooorrrddd chants will exist in the great outdoors. Similar to Minnesota, the Chicago Blackhawks have turn things around scoring five and seven goals in their last two games respectively snapping a three game losing streak. Their power play has been lethal (to surprise of no one) too scoring seven power goals in their eleven opportunities.
Stadium Series By The Numbers, courtesy of the NHL.
1 First-ever NHL® outdoor regular-season game played in "The State of Hockey."
2 Colors featured on the iconic I-35 bridge - Iron Range Red and Forest Green, the official colors of the Minnesota Wild - as declared by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton as a special tribute to "NHL Stadium Series Weekend."
3 All-time NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs series matchups between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks have won all three of the playoff series between the clubs - all of which have been contested in the past three seasons.
4 Four six-pointed red stars are featured on the white collar of the Blackhawks special-edition jerseys, which are derived from the city of Chicago's flag and were incorporated as a symbol of regional fan pride. The Wild special-edition jersey pays homage to the loyal fan base of Minnesota with a State of Hockey logo on the shoulder.
5 Career points scored by Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews in NHL regular-season outdoor games, the most by any player (2-3â5 in 3 GP).
6 Combined players on the Wild and Blackhawks rosters who have each played in three NHL regular-season outdoor games: Minnesota's Jarret Stoll and Chicago's Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews.
10 Hours the 2016 NHL Stadium SeriesTM Spectator Plaza will be open to the public (Saturday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. CT; Sunday, Feb. 21, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT). Located outside of Gate A at TCF Bank Stadium, Spectator Plaza is a free, non-ticketed event open to fans of all ages. The two-day fan festival includes interactive games, special appearances, and live music hosted by the NHL and its corporate partners.
11 Number of Grammy nominations received by singer Jazmine Sullivan, who will sing the U.S. national anthem at Sunday's game.
15 Average low temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for Minneapolis, Minn. on Feb. 21, according to accuweather.com.
19 Skaters who have competed for both the Wild and Blackhawks (no head coaches or goaltenders have). Of those 19, only one has played in at least 150 regular-season games with both clubs: Martin Havlat, who appeared in 151 games with Minnesota and 172 games with Chicago.
31 Average high temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for Minneapolis, Minn. on Feb. 21, according accuweather.com.
32.7 Average temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, at puck drop for the sixteen previous NHL regular season outdoor games.
36 Minnesota-born players on NHL rosters in 2015-16, including three Minnesotans on the Wild roster: Ryan Carter (White Bear Lake), Zach Parise (Minneapolis) and Nate Prosser (Elk River).
53 Length, in feet, of the world's largest mobile rink refrigeration unit, specially built for outdoor games conducted by the NHL.
59 The Wild and Blackhawks have faced off 59 times during the regular season since Minnesota entered the NHL in 2000-01. The Wild lead the head-to-head series with 34 victories and 71 points, compared to the Blackhawks' 24 wins and 57 points. Minnesota has won each of the past four regular-season matchups, including both in 2015-16.
87 Names of Minnesota's counties cast in stone that surround the perimeter of TCF Bank Stadium.
111 Number of saves Apple Valley High School goalie Taylor DeForrest registered in a recent game. DeForrest will take part in a special second intermission salute to hockey in Minnesota alongside Minnesota hockey legends Aaron Broten, Neal Broten, Dave Christian, Phil Housley, Jamie Langenbrunner and Reed Larsen, the University of Minnesota's women's hockey team and Wright Homes/FHIT, winners of the 2016 National Pond Hockey Championships open division.
211 Evergreens surrounding the rink at TCF Bank Stadium as décor; a tribute to Minnesota's vast forests.
243 Number of ice pans under the main rink at TCF Bank Stadium, each measuring 30" x 340" in size.
300 Ton capacity of refrigeration trailer that will keep the ice cool at TCF Bank Stadium.
350 Gallons of paint used to make the TCF Bank Stadium ice white.
510 Players and head coaches who have participated in the League's 16 regular-season outdoor games to date.
2,186 Linear feet of pipes running from the mobile rink refrigeration unit to the rink at TCF Bank Field.
3,000 Square feet of merchandise space at Spectator Plaza, where fans can buy official 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium SeriesTM gear.
4,895 Gallons of coolant used to freeze the TCF Bank Stadium rink.
55,450 Total hockey players Minnesota boasts, which ranks them as the No. 1 state in the U.S. in terms of participation, according to USA Hockey. In addition, "The State of Hockey" has more female players (12,808) than any other state, and in a note that bodes well for the game's future, Minnesota also set an all-time record in 2015-16 by surpassing 17,000 8-and-under players for the first time.
920,534 The NHL's 16 regular-season outdoor games have drawn total attendance of 920,534, an average of 57,533 per game.
You can stream this game via NBC Sports Live Extra.