The Minnesota Wild look to bolster their lead in the Central Division on Tuesday as they host the second-place Chicago Blackhawks in their final contest before their league-mandated bye week. The Wild have posted an impressive 15-4-1 mark in their last 20 games overall to build a seven-point lead in the division, and enter Tuesday’s tilt with an 8-0-1 record in their last nine regular-season encounters with the Blackhawks.
Veteran forward Jason Pominville scored to snap a tie in the third period of Minnesota’s 3-2 win over Chicago on Jan. 15, igniting a run of 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in his past 17 games. “We’re winning games, it’s easy to come with a smile and keep a positive attitude and keep working. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, and it’s paid off,” the 34-year-old Pominville said on the heels of notching an assist in Saturday’s 5-2 win over Nashville. Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews are also seeing results, with the reigning Hart Trophy winner scoring and setting up a goal in Sunday’s 5-1 win against Buffalo to give him 11 points (five goals, six assists) as Chicago improved to 6-1-0 in February. Toews’ tally versus the Sabres upped his point total to 15 in 11 contests, and the 28-year-old also notched a pair of assists before scoring the overtime goal in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 win over Minnesota on Feb. 8.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CSN Chicago, FSN Wisconsin, FSN North (Minnesota)
LINE HISTORY: The Wild opened as -130 favorites on home ice and heavy betting on the home side has pushed the line up to -150 (and even higher at some books). The total was set at 5.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Blackhawks – D M. Rozsival (Questionable, lower body).
Wild – D M. Dumba (Late Feb, lower body), D V. Bartley (I-R, tricep).
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (36-18-5, 25-23-11 O/U): Marian Hossa (team co-leading 21 goals) scored against the Sabres to not only increase his point total to five (three goals, two assists) in his last seven contests, but also give coach Joel Quenneville a bit of flexibility with his ever-changing lines. “When you’ve got three lines, and (Hossa) not on your top two, it obviously shows you’ve got have a little depth on your team.” Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times of the 38-year-old Hossa, who has alternated playing between Dennis Rasmussen and Marcus Kruger as linemates and rookie Ryan Hartman and Tanner Kero. Artemi Panarin, who is in his second season with the Blackhawks, has two goals and seven assists in his past seven games.
ABOUT THE WILD (39-13-6, 29-21-8 O/U): Captain Mikko Koivu was quick to credit his linemates (Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund) after scoring and setting up a goal versus the Predators for his third multi-point performance in his last four games. “We’re trying to get better each game,” the 33-year-old Finn said after reaching 600 points for his career. “We’re trying to help each other out. Make sure we’re ready to go each and every night.” Zucker scored two goals and set up another against Nashville and Granlund had one of each to increase his team-leading point total to 53 – with five (two goals, three assists) coming in the last five games.
ICE GIRLS BATTLE:
* Blackhawks are 6-0 in their last 6 road games.
* Wild are 11-2 in their last 13 vs. Central.
* Over is 6-0 in Blackhawks’ last 6 road games.
* Over is 20-5-2 in Wild’s last 27 overall.
* Blackhawks are 1-6 in the last 7 meetings.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 64 percent of the Covers public is siding with the home team Minnesota Wild on the moneyline and 53 percent are on the Under. View full consensus data here.