NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, February 22nd
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (29-24-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (34-15-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to stretch their winning
streak to five games tonight in a battle with the Minnesota Wild at the United
The Blackhawks visited the Dallas Stars last night and left town with a 3-1
victory, the club's fourth straight victory overall and seventh in its last
nine road games. Chicago is on its longest winning streak since winning a
franchise-best nine in a row from December 7-28 of this season.
Patrick Kane, James Wisniewski and Matt Walker all scored for the Blackhawks
and Cristobal Huet stopped 30-of-31 shots for his 17th win of the season. The
win gave Chicago its first-ever series sweep of the Dallas/Minnesota
Chicago is currently fourth overall in the Western Conference with 76 points,
but 10 back of first-place Detroit in the Central Division. The Blackhawks
haven't made the postseason since 2001-02.
The 'Hawks will play eight of their next 10 games at the United Center, where
they are 15-4-5 this season. Chicago will travel to Nashville on Tuesday
before returning home for three straight to continue the stretch.
While Chicago hopes its recent success as the visitor will carry over at home,
the Wild hit the road after winning the final game of a three-game homestand
on Saturday. Minnesota ended the residency 1-1-1 after a 5-2 victory over the
Owen Nolan had two first-period goals and added an assist to pace the offense.
Nolan, who has five goals and four assists over his last six games, now has 17
goals on the season, the most since he ended 2003-04 with 19 tallies. A two-
time 40-goal scorer, Nolan 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points in 43 career
games versus Chicago.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Martin Skoula, and Stephane Veilleux scored for the
Wild, who snapped a three-game overall losing streak. Bouchard also tallied an
assist and Niklas Backstrom stopped 35 shots for the victory.
While forward Craig Weller returned from a 13-game absence due to a head
injury, Andrew Brunette was unable to skate yesterday due to a lower-body
ailment. Brunette saw his consecutive games played streak end at 509, which
was the longest active run in the league. He missed his first game since
December 31, 2001.
The Wild have lost four of their last six on the road and are 11-13-0 as the
guest this year. The club is 10th overall in the Western Conference but just a
point out of a playoff spot.
Tonight marks the fourth and final meeting between the Wild and Blackhawks
this year. Minnesota has won two of three this year and 11 of the last 14 in
the series overall. That includes a victory in five of its last six trips to
02/22 10:36:41 ET