Different battles lie ahead as Blackhawks host Wild on CSN

Different battles lie ahead as Blackhawks host Wild on CSN
April 3, 2014, 8:00 am
Share This Post
Nina Falcone

After dropping their last three consecutive games, the Blackhawks will look to rebound against the Minnesota Wild. Catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet beginning at 6:30 with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

The injuries have been piling for the Blackhawks, and now the team is taking precautionary measures as their last few regular-season games play out.

Coach Joel Quenneville previously stated that Patrick Kane is done until the playoffs following the lower left-leg injury he suffered against the St. Louis Blues. Now Jonathan Toews is, too, after being hit by Penguins forward Brooks Orpik on Sunday. Both are expected to be fully recovered by the start of the postseason, but until then, the defending champions will face a new test as they power on without Nos. 19 and 88.

That test will begin tonight against the Minnesota Wild.

[MORE: Blackhawks defend response to Toews hit]

The Wild (39-26-11) are coming into tonight's game with their own battle to fight; a very different type of battle than the one the Blackhawks are facing. While the Blackhawks are already looking ahead to the postseason, the Wild are still battling to just to see playing time past April 13.

Minnesota's 89 points currently have the team in the top wild card spot in the Western Conference, just four points ahead of the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes. And while those four points may give the appearance of some cushion room with only six games remaining, the Wild have a very tough schedule to close out the year, including meetings with the Penguins, Blues and Bruins throughout the next week and a half.

Expect them to come out with an extra fire lit under their skates tonight, especially since they've had two days off since their win over the Kings on Monday.

Tonight marks the fifth and final regular-season matchup between the Blackhawks and Wild this season; Minnesota's won three out of the last four games against Chicago. 

[RELATED: Updated NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup]

Active point leaders

Blackhawks: Patrick Sharp (31G, 42A), Duncan Keith (6G, 51A), Marian Hossa (27G, 29A), Brandon Saad (19G, 25A), Brent Seabrook (7G, 33A)

Wild: Jason Pominville (27G, 26A), Zach Parise (28G, 23A), Mikko Koivu (10G, 39A), Ryan Suter (7G, 34A), Mikael Granlund (8G, 33A)

Goaltender matchup

Quenneville announced Wednesday that Corey Crawford will get the start in net against Minnesota. 

Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start for the Wild, as the team's other remaining netminders are all sidelined with injury/illness. The team recalled John Curry from the AHL's Iowa Wild to back Bryzgalov up. 

Since arriving in Minnesota at the trade deadline, Bryzgalov's recorded a .909 save percentage and 2.16 goals-against average in seven games played.

Remember to keep up with the latest news by staying locked into the Blackhawks Pulse, and have your voice heard by using #HawksTalk on Twitter.