Here we go, Minnesota and Chicago go at it for the fourth time this season. The Wild have beaten the Hawks in the three previous meetings this season. These two divisional foes will meet one more time before seasons end. Minnesota is still trying to put themselves back in the playoff picture. Currently the Wild are one point back of Colorado for the final playoff spot, with the Avalanche visiting Edmonton tonight. So go Oilers if you are a Wild fan/fan of Colorado not living up to expectations. No Thomas Vanek again tonight, Torch wants to the best lineup out there and right now Vanek is not a part of that formula. Chris Porter will slide in for the injured Ryan Carter. Mike Reilly could be scratched after being benched during Saturdays win over Carolina, but again we wont know closer to puck drop. Devan Dubnyk starts for the Wild tonight.
Chicago is five points back of a divisional crown and are close to clinching a playoff spot of their own. Despite being near the top of the division for the most of the season, Chciago has endured some injuries throughout the season. They missed Duncan Keith at one point, they recently got Marian Hossa back and currently without the services of goaltender Corey Crawford. Crawford is day-to-day and backup Scott Darling will start again tonight. Chicago (re)acquired Andrew Ladd from Winnipeg near the deadline to give the Hawks some much needed scoring depth. The penalty kill for Chicago has been a weak spot this season (just like the Wild) and Minnesota has to keep their power play rolling if they want two points tonight.
Minnesota and Chicago rank T-1st in the NHL for most players who have scored at least 10 goals this season with 11 players on each roster.
The Wild are 4-6-3 on the second night of action. Minnesota looks to sweep back-to-back games for the second time this season.
Nino Niederreiter has 14 points (8-6=14) in the last 17 games and ranks third on the Wild with 115 hits