Posted April 08, 2013 on
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While the Chicago Blackhawks have already clinched a playoff spot, the Minnesota Wild hope to improve their postseason position despite an injury to one of their top players.
The NHL-leading Blackhawks look for a third straight victory overall and on the road Tuesday night against the Wild.
Rookie Brandon Saad and captain Jonathan Toews scored 55 seconds apart in the third period Sunday to rally Chicago to a 5-3 home win over Nashville.
Riding a 4-0-1 stretch, the Blackhawks (29-5-4) are headed to the playoffs for a fifth straight season.
"We obviously wanted to stay in the spot we're in in the standings,'' said Toews, who has three goals and five assists in five games. "First and foremost, our No. 1 goal coming in every season is we want to make the playoffs."
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, Bryan Bickell scored in his second straight game and Ray Emery made 19 saves after making 20 in Saturday's 1-0 win at Nashville. Chicago also kept the Predators scoreless on four power-play chances over the weekend, and have killed 17 straight penalties over 10 games.
The Blackhawks have the edge over Anaheim in the Western Conference and East-leading Pittsburgh in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.
"We're very happy with what we've accomplished, but we still want to keep trying to get better in games," coach Joel Quenneville told the NHL's official website. "Playing the right way is what we're going to be stressing here the last 10 (games) and that's important. We'd like to finish as high as we can, that's a priority as well, but that's what the motivation is."
Chicago, which snapped a three-game slide to Minnesota (22-14-2) with a 5-3 home win March 5, has at least one point in eight straight (5-0-3) against the Wild. The last three meetings at Minnesota ended in a shootout, with the Wild winning the last two. Their 3-2 home win Jan. 30 ended the Blackhawks' 6-0-0 start.
Minnesota was outscored 11-3 during a three-game skid it snapped with Sunday's 3-0 win at Columbus. Jason Pominville had a goal with an assist in his second game since being acquired from Buffalo and Niklas Backstrom stopped 24 shots for the Wild, who are sixth in the West and trying to keep pace with Northwest Division-leading Vancouver.
The Wild have not reached the postseason since 2007-08.
"You can't avoid it: Everyone is talking about (the playoffs),'' Backstrom said. "But for us it's still one day at a time, one game at a time.''
The Wild open an important three-game home stretch that includes visits from St. Louis and the Blue Jackets, both behind them in the West standings. They'll hope to build on their latest victory minus forward Dany Heatley, who will miss a third consecutive game with a shoulder injury.
Heatley, who has 11 goals and 10 assists, is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery with the hopes of returning by the end of the regular season.
"We've got three home games coming up, and obviously some good competition, so we have to make sure we're sharp and ready to go," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
Minnesota rookie Charlie Coyle has scored half of his six goals in the last five games.
Backstrom stopped all 28 shots in relief against the Blackhawks in January, but allowed four goals on 17 shots at Chicago last month.
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ST. PAUL, Minn. With 10 games remaining in the regular season and the Minnesota Wild fighting for playoff positioning, forward Dany Heatley underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery Tuesday.Heatley, who has 11 goals and 10 assists in 36 games this season, was hurt at the end of Wednesday's loss at San Jose in an altercation with Sharks defenseman Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and has missed...
Minnesota Wild right wing Dany Heatley has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.
Heatley had the procedure Tuesday. Coach Mike Yeo said the team isn't sure yet about a timetable for Heatley's return, but the Wild are hoping to have the 32-year-old back in time for the playoffs.
He was hurt at the end of Minnesota's game at San Jose last Wednesday when...
ST. PAUL, Minn. The popular refrain from the Minnesota Wild the past two weeks is that the intensity in this pressure-packed, lockout-shortened season has increased to where Minnesota believes it's in playoff mode already.
Tuesday's home game, after a three-game road trip, was a tight contest between the Wild entering the game in sixth place in the Western Conference ...
MINNEAPOLIS The University of Minnesota men's hockey team has lost yet another player early to the pros.
Forward Erik Haula, who led the Gophers in scoring with 51 points, signed an entry-level contract Sunday with the Minnesota Wild. He will report to the Houston Aeros, the Wild's American Hockey League affiliate.
Haula was a seventh-round pick of the Wild in the 2009...
Marian Hossa's unassisted goal late in the second period lifted the NHL-leading Chicago Blackhawks to their fifth win in six games, 1-0 over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Ray Emery started for the Blackhawks for the third straight game and made 20 saves for his second shutout in that stretch and third of the season. He helped hand the Wild their fifth loss in seven games...
from Chip Scoggins of the StarTribune,
Whatever the proper description, Leipold’s insatiable thirst for winning has compelled the Wild owner to execute some bold transactions, regardless of cost. His latest shrewd move happened last week when the Wild agreed to give up two prospects, a first-round draft pick and a second-round pick to acquire Buffalo captain Jason Pominville...
The Minnesota Wild are once again a franchise on the rise, after the moves they made in the offseason. Actually, the Wild have a chance to go deep in the Stanley Cup playoffs, based on recent moves they have made.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher went out and picked up Jason Pominville at the trade deadline and the newly acquired forward is now playing on the top line with Zach Parise...
(Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks clinched a playoff berth Sunday night with a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Unfortunately for Nashville, they were unable to amount a point in their home and home with Chicago, despite their best efforts. It now seems next to impossible for the Predators to make a playoff run as there are only nine...