Possession of the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference is up for grabs during Wednesday’s tilt between the Wild and Blackhawks in Chicago, the second half of a back-to-back for both teams.
After rallying for a 3-2 overtime loss to the Flames Tuesday, the Wild improved to 48 points – the same number the Blackhawks boasted following a 8-2 drubbing of the Senators in Ottawa.
“It's never easy to come back,” said winger Mikael Granlund, who opened the scoring for the Wild against the Flames and added an assist. “Gladly we did. Still we lost the game. We wanted to win. That's what we need to start doing. And [Wednesday] we have a new chance.”
Granlund’s line with captain Mikko Koivu and winger Jason Zucker was reunited during Tuesday’s game and could be key in keeping pace with the Blackhawks – especially with winger Nino Niederreiter sidelined again with injury. The unit finished with three points Tuesday, as Koivu chipped in an assist on Granlund's goal.
“It’s just I think the simple things, like we always talk about trying to support one another and stay close to each other, create that forecheck,” Koivu said of his line. “And that’s what you’ve got to do to be able to really create.”
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Tyler Ennis
Joel Eriksson Ek-Charlie Coyle-Chris Stewart
Marcus Foligno-Matt Cullen-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter- Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Mike Reilly-Nate Prosser
2-4: The Wild’s record in the second game of a back-to-back.
97: Points for the Wild’s blue line.
95: Man games lost to injury for the Wild now that winger Nino Niederreiter is sidelined again.
5: Points for Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane in an 8-2 win over the Senators Tuesday.
2-5-1: The Blackhawks’ record in the second game of a back-to-back.
About the Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks have climbed into the second wild-card spot amid a 4-1-1 run. Overall, since Dec.8, the team has lost just four games in regulation. Winger Patrick Kane continues the lead the way, with 18 goals, 27 assists and 45 points. Kane is just three points shy of 800 for his career. As for captain Jonathan Toews, four of his last five games have been multi-point efforts.