Wild overwhelmed by the Blackhawks in 5-1 home loss

Zach Parise

I am not sure if you're like I am when I play video game hockey, but if somehow I manage to lose the game the competitive drive in me demands that I hit "rematch" and play the game over again to avenge my loss and restore my wounded pride.  Yes, its just a video game but I refuse to let the game get the best of me.  I am sure the Chicago Blackhawks wished they could hit "rematch" immediately after the Wild's 5-3 victory over the Blackhawks in the United Center on Saturday night.  The Blackhawks felt their sloppy play allowed the Wild to earn a win and just like myself they will want to avenge that loss to restore their pride and solidify their place ahead of the Wild in the Central Division standings as both clubs are tied with 15 points.  The Wild had a lot of good feelings going for them as they won their 3rd straight, but now they want to finish what they started by playing better at home.  As sloppy as Chicago says it played, the Wild were also a bit sloppy in the defensive zone and they could tighten up defensively as well.   

Jason Pominville

Minnesota should expect to weather a Chicago storm early.  If they can do that I think the Wild have a good chance to complete the series sweep.  The goals that eluded the Wild so much in the first 10 games of the season ended up in the back of the net on Saturday and Minnesota will want to build on that.  Can the Wild send Chicago a message that they are a team to be reckoned with or will the Blackhawks tell Minnesota 'not so fast"?  

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Niklas Backstrom

1st Period Thoughts:  Just as expected, the Blackhawks started the game with a tremendous amount of jump and purpose.  Chicago immediately started to pin the Wild in its own end with a solid forecheck but Minnesota looked a little lethargic out of the gate but they were still able to get sticks into shooting and passing lanes and keep most of the shots from reaching Niklas Backstrom.  Backstrom, demonstrated he was very much focused in his own right as he nabbed a big slapper from the point taken by Patrick Kane out of the air with his glove.  The Blackhawks' speed was very evident as the Wild found very little in the way of time and space, as Chicago won a lot of the early little races to the puck.  However like a patient boxer, the Wild started to steadily take some chances of its own after playing rope-a-dope the first few minutes.  It all started with a nice open ice hit by Clayton Stoner who leveled Wild killer Bryan Bickell just inside the Wild blueline.  A nice little pass play would yield an odd man chance for Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville in a 2-on-1 and the two passed back and forth and Granlund waited for the defenseman to commit before feeding Pominville who just pushed a shot wide.  Minnesota would steadily start to dictate the pace of the game little bit by little bit as they started to work their puck possession game down low in the Chicago end.  Zach Parise would earn the first penatly of the game as he tripped up Brent Seabrook and the Wild would have its next big test.  The Wild would catch Chicago by surprise as they'd nearly tally a shorthanded by Torrey Mitchell who got a pass from a forechecking Matt Cooke who was outnumbered 3-to-1 as he fed it out towards the right faceoff dot for a chance that seemed to stun the Blackhawks.  Chicago would regroup but Minnesota's penalty was strong, keeping the Blackhawks to the perimeter and when they did work the puck on goal they were quick to sweep it out of danger and the Wild got a huge kill.  Chicago continued to outwork and outhustle the Wild and their persistance would be rewarded when Marian Hossa worked a puck down behind the Wild goal to Patrick Sharp.   Sharp wasted no time moving out front where he fired a shot between the left post and Niklas Backstrom who was a tad bit late getting across his crease and it was 1-0 Chicago going into the 1st intermission.  I have little doubt the goal was a huge relief for Sharp who was stonewalled 7 times in Saturday's game on a number of high quality chances probably felt a little cursed.  Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser both had a good period and the one line that seemed to be able to make things happen offensively was the 2nd line of Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville. 

2nd Period Thoughts:  The 2nd period was a tale of two halves.  In the 1st half of the period the Wild adhered to their puck possession game a bit more and the team was able to create scoring chances and keep the Blackhawks attack at bey.  Minnesota kept pressing for the equalizer and they'd finally get it off a nice little play by Mikael Granlund to step around a Blackhawks defenseman at center ice where he dished it to Jason Pominville shortly after crossing the blueline and the former Buffalo Sabre stepped into a slapper that beat Corey Crawford cleanly to tie at at 1-1.  I am sure Crawford wanted that one back as he was unscreened and should've had a good angle to keep that one out of the net.  As great as the goal was here is where the wheels fell off.  The Wild would get lazy and stop making the tape to tape passes instead of just opting to chip the puck off the boards / glass whether they had to or not and Chicago was able to control the game.  The Wild would give up two goals on somewhat similar circumstances as they would get caught chasing the Blackhawks all over their own zone.  Failed clearing attempts, mishandles of the puck proved costly as Sheldon Brookbank and former Wild 1st round pick Nick Leddy both blasted shots by a sprawling Niklas Backstrom who was flopping all over his crease.  The Wild had a few fleeting scoring chances of their own, as Nino Niederreiter gave us a glimpse of his heavy slap shot but Crawford was able to come up with some saves to keep Minnesota down by two. 

3rd Period Thoughts:  This is where it really got ugly and a Wild rookie was exposed big time.  Mathew Dumba was a gaffe machine and Chicago was ready to really pressure the Wild whenever he was on the ice and that led directly to two more goals which would seal a 5-1 victory for the Blackhawks.  Dumba struggled to handle the puck, especially with Chicago players in close proximity and then what made matters worse is that some of his decisions were of the high-risk, low reward variety.  Especially up near the blue line his passes lacked zip and were often off-target making it tough for his fellow point men to handle the puck.  Dumba was also overhwhelmed in the defensive zone as Chicago scored their final goal off a Dumba turnover and then took advantage of his hesitation to chase the play as Brandon Saad buried an easy tap in goal.  If Dumba hustles, Saad may not get that chance at all.  You can't blame Niklas Backstrom for the goals, but he wasn't quite as sharp as he was earlier in the game as well when he was seeing the puck very well through traffic.  The Blackhawks were getting near the blue paint much of the period and this led to a little feistiness but the Wild didn't have much push back and were trounced by Chicago. 

Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley clearly were passengers in this game.  Koivu is absolutely worthless playing the point on the power play.  His shot is not going to be much of a threat on the few times he decides to actually take a chance himself but his puck distribution is highly predictable and led to a fairly static power play which is easy to defend.  The Wild got far better performance from its 2nd power play unit, made up mostly of youngsters because they move the puck quicker and less predictably than the vets do as they stay to the perimeter and then hope that Zach Parise can just jam a puck in or a point shot will somehow fool the goalie when he has no one screening in front of him. 

Heatley is an unmitigated disaster in just about every realm of the game these days.  His lack of speed, quickness and you could argue heart and desire is obvious and he's a detriment to every line he's been put on.  However, it doesn't appear like he'll be benched even after Charlie Coyle returns from injury.  Heatley has done nothing to earn Top 9 minutes and the team seems to be at a loss as to what to do with him except to continue to play him and hope he works out his issues. 

I know the Star Tribune's Michael Russo disagrees with me, but I'd send Dumba back to junior.  While Russo believes being tutored by Rick Wilson and Daryl Sydor will be a benefit to him, we've heard that before.  Its one thing if you're playing, which is really where the true learning is done or if you're sitting on game nights making popcorn at the James Sheppard Memorial Popcorn Maker (with the slogan, "I learned to do this when I was 3!").  Dumba to me is not ready and while Jonas Brodin was fantastic when given the chance people need to remember he had been playing against men for two seasons in Sweden before he got his chance with the Wild.  Also, I'd say the two have very different styles and Brodin's hockey IQ is far sharper than Dumba's.  If the Wild play Dumba again, the first year of his Entry Level Contract kicks in.  I don't think the Wild really care about that, but it might be nice to help stagger those contracts.  While defensive depth is a legit concern, I think the Wild have other options which can be as good as Dumba is right now.  With points and a good start so crucial to success the team needs stability more than it needs to tutor a youngster right now.   

Wild Notes:

~ The Wild roster tonight was as follows:  Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Justin Fontaine, Mikael Granlund, Jason Pominville, Nino Niederreiter, Matt Cooke, Kyle Brodziak, Dany Heatley, Stephane Veilleux, Torrey Mitchell, Zenon Konopka, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, Mathew Dumba, Nate Prosser and Clayton Stoner.  Josh Harding backed up Niklas Backstrom.  Mike Rupp (knee), Charlie Coyle (knee), Keith Ballard (concussion), and Jonas Brodin (fractured cheekbone) are out of the lineup with injuries.  

~ The 3 Stars of the Game as selected by Minnesota Radio were: 1st Star Brandon Saad, 2nd Star Patrick Kane, 3rd Star Corey Crawford

~ Attendance was 18,685 at Xcel Energy Center.

Golden Gophers Hockey Report:

The Golden Gopher men's team participated in the Big 10 / Hockey East Challenge in an excellent two-game series with Boston College.  Boston College has dominated Hockey East the last 5 seasons and so far Minnesota looks to be the top team in the new Big 10 Conference.  In Friday's game the Golden Gophers got out to a 2-0 lead but Boston College would rally back with 3 goals to take the lead with two of them coming from former Edina Hornet Michael Sit.  Freshman Taylor Cammarata would score in the 2nd to tie the game at 3-3.  Yet that's as close as it would get as Thatcher Demko and Adam Wilcox shut the door to end the game in a stalemate.  Both clubs would have a shootout just for fun at the conclusion of a 5-minute overtime which Boston College won 2-0.  The two clubs would come together again on Sunday and the Golden Gophers again started fast by piling up 4 goals on Thatcher Demko in the 1st period from Nate Condon, Seth Ambroz, Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei.  Boston College would answer with a power play goal in the 2nd from Evan Richardson but they still trailed by three going into the 3rd.  Minnesota would add to its lead in the 3rd period as Michael Brodzinski and Jake Bischoff lit the lamp to make it 6-1.  An ugly and scary moment came midway through the period as Boston College's Michael Matheson shoved the Gophers' Nate Condon careening into the goal after he took a shot off the rush.  Condon was very sore as his torso made contact with the goal before sliding into the boards as well.  Matheson would be given a major penalty.  Minnesota would prevail 6-1 on the strength of 31 saves by Adam Wilcox.  Solid performance for the #1 ranked and still unbeaten Gophers.  

Brett Bulmer

Iowa Wild Report:

Recent Game:  Iowa 2, Grand Rapids 3

The Iowa Wild did not get off to a great start against Grand Rapids, who were playing their 3rd game in 3 nights as the Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period.  Nathan Paetsch would light the lamp on a blast from the point.  Former Michigan Wolverines star Luke Glendening would motor his way around Jonathan Blum and then fired a shot by Darcy Kuemper to give Grand Rapids a 2-0 lead going into the 1st intermission.  Iowa would respond early in the 2nd period as Jason Zucker and Warren Peters scored a little over 2 minutes apart early in the 2nd period to tie the game at 2-2.  Unfortunately that is as close as it would get as Landon Ferraro would score shorthanded with less than a minute left in regulation which would be the game winner giving the defending AHL Champion a 3-2 victory.  Kuemper had 23 saves in the loss.  Iowa's next game is Friday against Texas.  

Wild Prospect Report:

G – Alexandre Belanger (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) – The goaltender continues to see lots of shots, but just as important continues to help his team earn wins as he had 34 saves in the Huskies' 5-4 win against Val 'd Or on Sunday.  Belanger has a 7-2 record, with a 3.58GAA and an .873% save percentage.  

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally take the time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!

4-goal first period too much for the Wild in 5-3 loss to Chicago as they win their 20th of the season

Mikko Koivu

Just Win Baby.  It was the mantra of Al Davis, the flamboyant owner of the Oakland Raiders whose teams were often a colorful collection of players who not only embraced that philosophy but were known for having a few drinks at halftime.  In today's age of the scientifically refined professional athlete its hard to imagine an athlete having a beer between periods or a cigarette.  One of the clubs to have compiled an impressive winning streak like the Wild's opponent tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks was the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens who piled up an impressive 35 wins at home in a row.  This was the same season where Les Glorieux had the greatest goals for / goals against ratio ever at +216.  Just to put that in perspective, the Minnesota Wild have only scored more than 216 goals as a team just 5 times in its 12 seasons of existance.  Even on that team, and perhaps it was a reflection of the 1970's but Guy Lafleur was known to light up a cigarette between periods even during the Habs glory days, as well as lighting up goaltenders as part of one of the greatest NHL teams ever.  How good is the Blackhawks' current points streak?  Its the longest ever points streak without a regulation loss in NHL history.  All good things come to an end, but when will it?  

Matt Cullen

The Minnesota Wild handed the Blackhawks their first loss of any kind with a win in the shootout at the friendly confines of the Xcel Energy Center.  This time they'll be at the boisterous and mostly hostile United Center where the Blackhawks fans will be hoping their 'Hawks can earn their 20th win.  Can Minnesota put an end to the Blackhawks' historic run, and continue their climb towards the top of the Western Conference?  

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Blackhawks vs. Wild

1st Period Thoughts:  If you were watching the game and had to sit next to that dolt that whistles constantly throughout the game.  I think there might be an incident.  Minnesota would earn an early power play but it was Chicago taking the opportunity to go on the attack as Jonathan Toews found some room after a nice pass by Marian Hossa and it looked like he'd score on the breakaway as he got Niklas Backstrom to drop before pushing his backhand shot wide of the goal.  Minnesota wasn't able to get much of anything going on the power play, as the aggressive Chicago penalty killers gave the Wild precious little time and space with the puck.  Coming up empty on the power play, the Wild got a great shift from its 4th line as Torrey Mitchell, Kyle Brodziak and MIke Rupp caused Chicago some trouble as they won the little races for the puck where it led to a good shooting opportunity for Brodziak.  The good shift sort of inspired the Wild to start moving its feet a bit more and Minnesota started to build some momentum.  A few minutes later the Wild's 2nd line of Matt Cullen, Devin Setoguchi and Jason Zucker used its speed to cause the Blackhawks some misery down long the boards and again winning those little races for the puck which ultimately led to a turnover near the Chicago blueline as they were about to get it out of the zone where Cullen poke checked it away.  Cullen quickly turned and moved in and fired a shot that was stopped by Corey Crawford but Setoguchi was there to shovel home the rebound to make it 1-0 Wild.  It was a great shift where Minnesota simply outworked the Blackhawks.  Cullen and Setoguchi were tremendous and that line continues to exhibit terrific chemistry.  The Blackhwks would try to answer back and they'd set up Patrick Kane for two prime scoring chances but couldn't convert.  Chicago continued to attack and Charlie Coyle would lose a battle along the boards as he ran into a wall that was Brandon Saad.  Saad would dish the pass over to Toews who backhanded a shot on goal that was Backstrom couldn't control and then it was Saad banging home the rebound to tie the game.  Just 44 seconds after Saad's goal, the Blackhawks would strike again as this time it was a shot by Viktor Stalberg that gave Backstrom trouble again and would lead to another rebound that was swept up and flung in by Bryan Bickell who was being 'shadowed' by Mikael Granlund who looked small and clueless in the defensive zone.  The Wild's 2nd line tried to answer back and Zucker exhibited a little 'dangle' in his game but his effort was foiled by Cullen who sort of stepped in front of Toews who sold the interference call by falling to the ice.  Minnesota's penalty kill was aggressive and did a nice job of keeping Chicago to the perimeter, denying time and space effectively and the Blackhawks failed to get anything going on the power play.  Just after the Wild killed off the power play the Blackhawks would light the lamp as Brandon Saad won a draw and pushed it over to Bryan Bickell who wasted little time beating the Wild goalie with a quick wrist shot over the left shoulder, 3-1.  It was soft goal and at a time where the Wild needed Backstrom to keep this a one-goal game.  After another solid shift by the Wild's 2nd line, the Blackhawks would again assert its dominance as Chicago got a little space and Marian Hossa wired a shot that beat Backstrom high glove side which has been suspect all night.  Chicago had to be chuckling a bit as some suspect goaltending helped Blackhawks get a 4-1 lead, outshooting the Wild 17-4.  The only line for the Wild that seemed to have jump and the ability to create chances was the 2nd line of Cullen, Setoguchi and Zucker.  The 1st line seemed to be a step too slow and the 3rd line of Granlund, Dany Heatley and Pierre-Marc Bouchard seemed a bit timid.  The 4th line was reasonable but the Wild have to get something out of its 1st and 3rd lines if it wants to come back.  I would fully expect to see Darcy Kuemper be between the pipes for the start of the 2nd period.  Minnesota's lack of physicality and strength on defense was being exposed too.  

2nd Period Thoughts:  As expected Kuemper was manning the crease to start the 2nd period.  The Wild were showing a little desperation early in the period, as they tried to get going offensively.  The first quality chance came off the stick of Dany Heatley at point blank range who jammed at it in the blue paint by Crawford was able to hold on.  Minnesota continued to try to attack but as they did so the Blackhawks flipped a switch and turned the tables on the Wild and pretty soon we were chasing around Chicago players in our own end.  Chicago was content to work the puck deep and force Minnesota to bring the puck up the full length of the ice.  The Wild couldn't seem to get much of anything going offensively and they wouldn't help their cause when Jonas Brodin mishandled a puck at the blueline forcing him to hold up a charging Bickell for an obvious interference penalty.  Minnesota's penalty killers again did a fine job of making it difficult for a very good Chicago power play and with timely puck pressure they held the Blackhawks to just one shot on the man advantage and more importantly they kept them from adding to their lead.  The Wild would try to go back on the attack and it was Pierre-Marc Bouchard out legging Niklas Hjalmarsson for a puck and he'd flip a pass to Jared Spurgeon who directed a shot on goal and he and Heatley would try to jam at it but Crawford was able to make a stop.  Moments after that the Wild's 2nd line caused Chicago some more problems with their great hustle along the wall and it was Matt Cullen setting up Devin Setoguchi for a close-range chance but Crawford delivered another big stop.  Chicago was looking to counter punch and a long pass by Hjalmarsson connected with Patrick Sharp for a break away that was steered aside by Kuemper.  Chicago would earn a power play late as Justin Falk sort of threw down Stalberg for a holding call.  The Wild's penalty kill was again excellent although this time Chicago was able to set up but Darcy Kuemper looked poised, making a fine glove save on a blast from the point by Ducan Keith.  Minnesota penalty killers' puck pressure started to yield dividends as they worked the puck deep into the Chicago zone, preventing the Blackhawks to get set up in the offensive zone and the Wild would still trail by three going into the 2nd intermission.  It was an ok period, but Minnesota needs to find more ways to create offense if it really wants a chance at a comeback.  Being outshot 10-4 when you're trying to comeback just isn't going to get it done.  

3rd Period Thoughts:  Minnesota would try to jump on Chicago early in the 3rd as Charlie Coyle raced into the Blackhawks' zone on the forecheck and created a turnover that turned into a quick scoring chance for Zach Parise who tried to jam it in but it was kicked aside by Crawford.  The Wild would create a scoring chance on a nice backhanded pass from Bouchard to a streaking Granlund get behind the Blackhawks' defense but he was unable to get a shot off before he was chcked up in the face by Hjalmarsson giving Minnesota a power play.  The Wild would struggle a bit to get set up in the offensive zone and after some hard work along the wall the puck would be worked out to the point where Ryan Suter stepped into a slapper that went off the left post and in to cut the Chicago lead to two, 4-2.  The Wild went right back on the attack and the 2nd line was there to cause some more trouble as Devin Setoguchi got off a quick shot that was stopped by the leg pad of Crawford.  Chicago tried to counter attack and a they nearly cashed in on their first scoring chance of the period as Toews motored into the Wild zone as he was thwarted by a strong play by Justin Falk who rode him off the play.  Minnesota's 3rd line would get another scoring chance as Mikael Granlund got a little space and he'd let loose a heavy wrist shot that was stopped by the leg pad of Crawford.  The Wild kept taking its chanes and the 4th line would cash in after a nice initial shot by Mike Rupp created a rebound and Torrey Mitchell tapped it on goal that Crawford reached back and stopped but Brodziak was there to poke it over the goal line to make it a one-goal game, 4-3.  Darcy Kuemper would provide a little drama as he got caught out of his crease playing the puck as his pass was stolen by Stalberg who tried to pass it out front but Kuemper dove and stopped it with the paddle before covering it up (sort of) earning a lucky quick whistle which drew the ire of the now anxious home crowd.  The Blackhawks would answer Minnesota's little offensive surge as some poor passes through the neutral zone turned into a shot on goal by sharp that created a rebound that was buried by Patrick Kane, 5-3 Chicago.  Minnesota's 4th line would create a scoring chance after some nice work along the wall by Brodziak to eventually turn into a pass from Suter to Rupp who tried to lift a backhand but Crawford was just able to knock it down and hold on for a whistle.  Minnesota's top line started to assert itself a little more in the last few minutes as they tried to cut the lead to one but they didn't seem to have quite enough jump to get it done.  Minnesota would pull Kuemper for an extra attacker with about a minute and half left to play but couldn't get much of anything going as Chicago challenged well through neutral zone.  The Wild would take a timeout with about 50 seconds left, but it didn't matter as all the Wild could manage was one more shot from Suter which was gloved by Crawford and Chicago would prevail 5-3.  

Niklas Backstrom effectively handed the game to the Blackhawks with some porous goaltending, giving up 4 goals on 17 shots.  This effectively dug the hole the offensively challenged Wild tried to fill all game long.  Darcy Keumper did a decent job in relief, giving up just one goal on 15 shots.  Tom Gilbert was absolutely awful tonight and looked slow and hesitant all game long.  His poor pass was intercepted late in the 3rd that really put the dagger into the Wild as they were surging after two goals earlier in the period.  I thought Ryan Suter was tremendous, logging 28:08 minutes of ice time and looking like the leader the team spent the big money on.  It was great to see him light the lamp.  I also like the way Jonas Brodin played, looking calm and collected all game long.  It won't be long before he lights the lamp too.  Minnesota's inability to handle Chicago physically to keep them off the rebounds killed them and this team should consider finding a big, mean defenseman.  

Offensively, the Wild had a great effort from its 2nd line of Setoguchi, Cullen and Zucker as well as its 4th line of Mitchell, Rupp and Brodziak who I also felt had a strong game.  The 2nd line really was the only one that I felt seemed to be dangerous on just about every shift.  Both lines managed to cause some trouble on the forecheck and create some scoring chances through effort and solid play along the boards.  The Wild's 1st line for the most part was missing in action and Mikko Koivu seemed to be going through the motions after a strong game on Sunday.  Defensively, the lack of assertiveness and hustle of the 3rd line of Heatley, Granlund and Bouchard was a major liability and their -3 was evidence of that.  Granlund had a few flashes of the offensive skill he has been hyped to possess tonight, but that wasn't enough to mask his poor initiative defensively as best seen by him standing next to Bryan Bickell as he swept up a rebound and then buried a goal as Granlund crouched for some weak shot blocking attempt.  On the bright side the Wild did manage to get 3 goals against the most stingy team defensively.  

The Blackhawks certainly deserved the victory this evening.  Bickell, Saad are just evidence of the interchangeable parts Chicago has where one line or a few players don't have to be the heroes in order for this team to win games.  They can get offense from its secondary lines who all seem to have a mix of speed, skill, size and grit.  The results speak for themselves.  This should be a tremendous rivalry and the Wild will be hard pressed to beat a team that is as balanced as the Blackhawks are.  Minnesota now has a few days off before it gets to Nashville where Ryan Suter will face an extremely hostile Predators crowd that felt betrayed by his defection to the Wild.  Hopefully the Wild can rest up and be ready for what will be an intense game on Saturday.  

Wild Notes:

~ Wild roster tonight is as follows: Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Charlie Coyle, Matt Cullen, Devin Setoguchi, Jason Zucker, Pierre-Marc Boucahrd, Mikael Granlund, Dany Heatley, Mike Rupp, Torrey Mitchell, Kyle Brodziak, Clayton Stoner, Justin Falk, Jared Spurgeon, Tom Gilbert, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin.  Niklas Backstrom shared duties between the pipes with Darcy Kuemper.  Zenon Konopka and Nate Prosser were the healthy scratches.  

~ The 3 Stars of the Game were: 1st Star Bryan Bickell, 2nd Star Brandon Saad, 3rd Star Marian Hossa

~ Attendance was 21,836 at United Center.

Top 10 NCAA Men's Hockey Pairwise Rankings:

#1 Quinnipiac (ECAC) ~ (24-5-5)

#2 Minnesota (WCHA) ~ (22-7-5)

#3 Miami (CCHA) ~ (22-9-5)

#4 UMass-Lowell (H-East) ~ (21-9-2)

#5 New Hampshire (H-East) ~ (18-8-6)

#6 Boston College (H-East) ~ (19-10-3)

#7 North Dakota (WCHA) ~ (18-9-7)

#8 Minnesota State (WCHA) ~ (21-10-3)

#9 Denver (WCHA) ~ (17-11-5)

#10 St. Cloud State (WCHA) ~ (20-13-1)

Top 10 NCAA Women's Hockey Pairwise rankings:

#1 Minnesota (WCHA ~ (36-0-0)

#2 Cornell (ECAC) ~ (25-5-1)

#3 Boston College (H-East) ~ (26-5-3)  

#4t Harvard (ECAC) ~ (23-5-3)

#4t Boston University (H-East) ~ (24-5-3)

#4t Clarkson (ECAC) ~ (28-8-0)

#7 Mercyhurst (CHA) ~ (26-6-1)

#8t North Dakota (WCHA) ~ (25-10-1)  

#8t Wisconsin (WCHA) ~ (23-9-2)

#8t Northeastern (H-East) ~ (22-10-2)

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally take the time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!