game 4 preview
Wild vs. Chicago • 8:30 p.m. • Xcel Energy Center • NBCSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild is 4-0 at home in the playoffs. Last season, the Wild, down 0-2 to Chicago, also won Game 3 before losing Game 4 at home and eventually the series in five games. The defending Stanley Cup champions had its six-game winning streak ended Tuesday.
Players to watch: Before Thursday’s playoff action, Wild LW Zach Parise was second in the NHL with nine assists and 13 points. Parise and C Mikael Granlund are tied for the Wild lead with four goals. C Mikko Koivu has no points and is minus-9 in eight playoff games against Chicago over two postseasons. G Ilya Bryzgalov is coming off his first playoff shutout in eight years. C Erik Haula has a point in each of the first three games of the series. LW Matt Cooke will return from a seven-game suspension. Blackhawks F Bryan Bickell has three goals in the series and six in eight playoff games against the Wild. He is tied with teammate Patrick Kane for third in the NHL with five goals. G Corey Crawford has allowed 13 goals in eight playoff games over two years against the Wild.
Numbers: All seven Wild goals in this series have come in the third period. … The Wild allows a league-low 23.7 shots per game and has held Chicago to 22 or fewer shots in all three games. … The Wild’s power play was 0-for-24 in two postseasons against Chicago before Parise’s power-play tally with 2:35 left Tuesday. The Blackhawks have the NHL’s top penalty kill (91.9 percent). … The Blackhawks are 6-0 when scoring first this postseason.
Injuries: Wild LW Matt Moulson (lower body), G Darcy Kuemper (upper body), G Niklas Backstrom (abdominal surgery) and LW Jason Zucker (quadriceps) are out. G Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) continues to practice with the team. Blackhawks F Andrew Shaw (lower body) is out.