(SportsNetwork.com) – Looking to surge back into the playoff picture, the
Minnesota Wild aim for a season high-tying fourth straight win on Tuesday
night in a matchup with the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wild have won five of their last seven following a rough 3-9-4 stretch
from Dec. 11-Jan. 13, getting back to within five points of a wild card spot
in the Western Conference.
Minnesota’s turnaround has coincided with the acquisition of goaltender Devan
Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 third-round pick, with Dubnyk going
5-1-0 with a 1.71 goals against average and .935 save percentage in seven
games with two shutouts.
Dubnyk was nearing a second straight shutout on Sunday versus the Vancouver
Canucks, but gave up two goals in 61 seconds late in the third period.
However, Jason Zucker iced the game on an empty-net tally for a 4-2 win.
That capped a perfect week for Dubnyk as he posted a 1.00 GAA and .967 save
percentage in three games. He stopped 35 shots versus the Canucks and was
named the NHL’s Third Star of the week on Monday.
“It got a little hairier then we expected,” Dubnyk said. “Obviously with a 3-0
lead, I would like to stop that first one, that kind of gives them a little
momentum. But it didn’t end up mattering in the end.”
Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek and Jared Spurgeon all scored for the Wild, who are
looking to match their four-game win streak from Nov. 13-20.
While Dubnyk has been solid since the trade, he has struggled in his career
versus the Blackhawks. In 10 lifetime meetings, including nine starts, he is
2-6-0 with a 4.28 GAA and .887 save percentage.
Chicago comes in having split the first four of a seven-game road trip, losing
the finale of a three-game California trip 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks on
Saturday. Former Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi made 31 saves to blank his
Antti Raanta made 18 saves for Chicago, which had scored at least three goals
in five straight but was shut out for the second time in January.
“It was one of those games where you felt something was going to come
eventually and it didn’t happen,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.
Patrick Kane, who came into the contest with 14 points over his past nine
games, was held to a pair of shots and a minus-2 rating by the Sharks. Kane is
tied for second in the NHL with 56 points.
The Blackhawks will wrap their road trip with stops in Winnipeg and St. Louis.
They lead the Jets by just four points for third place in the Central Division
and are four points back of the second-place Blues.
Chicago has won four in a row versus the Wild, including a 4-2 victory in
Minnesota on Jan. 8.
Crawford is 7-3-2 lifetime in matchups with Minnesota, posting a 2.24 GAA and
.919 save percentage.
Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo is eligible to return tonight from a six-game
suspension for a cross-check to the arm of the Jets’ Mathieu Perreault back on