Blackhawks/Wild Showdown Set For Sunday
By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)
The Minnesota Wild currently hold a 3 point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for the lead in the Central Division and the Western Conference.
Sunday, they get together for what will feel like a 10:30am start, thanks to the television scheduling and daylight savings time switch where we lose an hour. Why not add a little flavor to this game that already has a lot riding on it, right?
After winning seven straight games leading into a mini-bye (4 days off), the Blackhawks have lost their last two games. The Wild, are 4-3 after having their bye week, and are in the middle of a 5-game road trip as they enter the United Center on Sunday.
The Blackhawks, playing their third game in four nights, are in a stretch of having 15 games remaining in 28 days to close out the regular season. The Wild are no better having 16 games left. The bye week may have helped these teams, but it is going to be a long road to the end of the season, let alone a rigorous two month playoff run for these two teams. Both teams come in to this game healthy with their key players.
If the Blackhawks fall to the Wild on Sunday, they dig their hole further in hopes of catching the Wild for the top seed in the West by risking being 5 points behind them while the Wild hold a game in hand over them.
The goalie matchups should see Corey Crawford up against Devan Dubnyk. Both are in a bit of a rut, Crawford has lost his last 2 games, while Dubnyk has lost 3 of his last 5 games.
Eric Staal – 5 points (4G 1A) in his last 5 games
Zach Parise – 4 points (3G 1A) in his last 5 games.
Patrick Kane – 6 points (5G 1A) in his last 5 games
Artemi Panarin – 4 points (2G 2A) in his last 5 games.
Jared Spurgeon – 0 points, -1, in his last 5 games.
Nino Niederreiter – 1 assist, -1, in his last 5 games.
Marian Hossa – 1 assist, -1 in his last 5 games
Ryan Hartman – 0 zero points in his last 5 games.
Time: 11:30am CT (Don’t forget to push your clocks forward tonight)
TV: NBC – 5
Photos provided by NBCSPORTS.com and Unitedcenter.com