photo: Yahoo! Sports
By Brad Vandenberk
Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild played host to Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at the Xcel Energy Center. This game saw the 2 best teams in the Western Conference play their first game against the other this season. The Wild lost 2-1 the night before in Winnipeg, while the Hawks have been off since coming from behind on the San Jose Sharks to force overtime on Sunday night at the United Center and come out victorious winning 3-2.
Ray Emery started his 3rd straight game for the Hawks, while Niklas Backstrom was between the pipes for the Wild. Coach Q slightly tweaked his line up as Bryan Bickell found himself back in the line up alongside Dave Bolland and Andrew Brunette. That moved Michael Frolik to the fourth line with Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers. John Scott was Steve Montador’s defensive partner with Sean O’Donnell and Sami Lepisto scratched.
The Hawks attempted to take advantage of the travelled Wild as Bolland had Backstrom beat early but hit iron. The Hawks were all over the Wild out shooting them 11-2 in the first period. At the 2:57 mark of the period, the Wild got their first shot on net and the 19,254 at the Xcel Energy Center let them hear it with an abundance of sarcastic cheers. The first period ended with a 0-0 score and neither team gave up a penalty. Read more