WILD (33-35-10) at BLACKHAWKS (44-26-9)
TV: FS-North (HD); FS-Wisconsin; WGN
Last 10: Minnesota 4-6-0; Chicago 7-1-2
Season Series: Chicago has won the first two meetings this season, but the teams haven't seen each other since the Hawks' 5-2 win at the United Center on Jan. 12. They'll conclude the four-game season series in St. Paul on Thursday.
Big Story: The Hawks assured themselves of a fourth straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs by winning 5-4 in Nashville on Saturday, but they're looking for more. As they enter their final regular-season home game, the Hawks have a chance to climb as high as fourth place in the West, which would give them home ice in the opening round. The injury-riddled Wild are still playing hard -- they come to Chicago after beating Los Angeles 4-3 in a shootout at home on Saturday.
Wild: No team this season has crashed like the Wild, which was at the top of the League standings in early December and is already assured of missing the playoffs. However, the Wild haven't quit playing hard -- they've knocked off playoff hopefuls Florida and Los Angeles in their last two games by rallying to tie in the third period before getting the winner in overtime (against the Panthers) or a shootout (against the Kings).
Coach Mike Yeo says his team isn't focused merely on being a spoiler.
"We take a lot more satisfaction out of doing things the right way and keeping up with the standards we have for ourselves than we do in beating somebody else and hurting their chances," he said.
Blackhawks: The Hawks nearly saw a 4-0 lead turn into a loss at Nashville. The Predators rallied to get even at 4-4, but a goal by Brent Seabrook put Chicago back in front and the Hawks held on for the win to pull even in points with fifth-place Detroit, one point behind Nashville.
"We'll see how it works out," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Where we're at, we've got to catch two pretty good teams right in front of us, and so we'll see how that plays itself out."
Who's Hot: Minnesota's Eric Christensen has six goals in 10 games after not scoring since early November. He had the tying goal in the wins against Florida and L.A. … Patrick Sharp has goals in each of Chicago's last two games and leads the Hawks with 32.
Injury Report: Minnesota is missing a number of regulars, including center Matt Cullen (broken finger), defenseman Jared Spurgeon (concussion), forward Matt Kassian (groin) and defenseman Mike Lundin (groin). … The Hawks are still without captain Jonathan Toews (upper body), along with defensemen Sami Lepisto (leg) and Steve Montador (concussion-like symptoms).
Stat Pack: The Hawks are 12-5-2 without Toews. … The Hawks have allowed the first goal 45 times in 79 games, but have gotten points in 26 of them (19-19-7).
Puck Drop: The best news for the Hawks on Saturday had nothing to do with the win in Nashville. Toews skated again on Saturday and was cleared for contact. Chicago hopes he'll be able to play at least once before the regular season ends on Saturday.
"He's fine, he's doing good," Quenneville said Saturday night while confirming Toews had been cleared for contact.
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