Blackhawks-Wild Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 08, 2013
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Robbie Keane rescued on highway after running out of gas

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Tigers play high stakes game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Tavares dismisses rumors, wants to stay with Islanders

UFC signs a new broadcast deal in the U.K.

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker