Here we are again, and so soon!
The Minnesota Wild will take on the Chicago Blackhawks for the second time in two nights, looking to continue the potent offensive game they displayed in the 5-1 win last night.
After not playing against each other since the 2019-20 season, the NHL schedule overlords sure do seem intent on making up for the lost time.
There are going to be some notable additions — and subtractions — from the lineup tonight; Jared Spurgeon is likely to return to the lineup for the first time since December 16th, meaning upstart young’un Calen Addison will likely be the odd-man-out. Cam Talbot should be in the net tonight, facing off against Kevin Lankinen, despite him relieving Marc-André Fleury of his duties last night.
The Wild are starting to heat up — going 3-0-1 in their last four games — and it’s a fire fed by the usual suspects. Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala and Mats Zuccarello all have points in their last seven games and a combined 33 points in that stretch. They may not share a line, but they are powering the offense.
Up until last nights match, the Blackhawks were on a bit of a roll themselves. Not including the 5-1 stomping, they were 4-0-1 in their last five games, powered by Patrick Kane and a resurgent Dominik Kubalik. This team has little pockets of offensive power throughout the lineup, but there defense is a mess. Giving up 3.25 goals per game, 22nd in the league.
This should be an easy one, with some fresh legs in the lineup and a tired goalie in the opposing net.
Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m.
See you then.
Kirill, Kevin and Mats. Can The Three Horsemen continue their production?
Since December 1st, the Minnesota Wild have the 8th best offense in the NHL with 3.71 GF/GP. It’s a strength built on the consistent production of Kaprizov, Fiala and Zuccarello. When all three are in the lineup, it creates a depth and creativity that is hard to handle. Can they prove again tonight that they can do it?
Can Cam Talbot improve on his recent mediocre play?
It may be unfair to to criticize a player that has missed as much time as Talbot — he hasn’t seen any action since the beginning of January — but after such an amazing season last year, he hasn’t look liked himself for most of this year.
He’s let in six goals in his last two starts and has a .909 Sv% on the year. Kähkönen has been stellar in his absence, but the rest may have been good for Talbot. If he does make his return tonight, here’s hoping he looks better.
Does Jared Spurgeon miss a step?
Speaking of long absences, the Captain makes his return after missing a chunk stretching back to December 16th.
I’m not even going to question his ability in his first game back. He’ll be great.