7 p.m. Friday, Saturday vs. Wisconsin • Mariucci Arena • FSN Plus, 1500-AM

Gophers seek separation vs. Badgers

Preview: The series against 19th-ranked Wisconsin (17-10-1, 10-4-0-0 Big Ten) will be critical to the Gophers’ hopes of winning a fourth consecutive Big Ten regular-season championship. The No. 4 Gophers (20-8-2, 11-3-0-0) hold a three-point lead over the Badgers at the top of the league standings and are 6-1 in their past seven games. They finish the Big Ten schedule against Michigan and Michigan State, the bottom two teams in the league. The Badgers must play No. 11 Penn State and No. 12 Ohio State in the season’s final two weekends. Wisconsin, which split with the Gophers in Madison in January, is 7-2 on the road this season.

Players to watch: The Gophers have urged freshman Rem Pitlick to shoot more, and last week, he demonstrated why. Pitlick scored four goals and had two assists in a sweep at Penn State to earn NCAA and Big Ten first star of the week honors. He has seven goals in his past six games. Linemate Justin Kloos is on a four-game point streak. Gophers goaltender Eric Schierhorn stopped 82 of 88 shots last weekend. Wisconsin is led by a pair of first-round picks in the 2016 NHL draft: sophomore Luke Kunin (19 goals, 14 assists), picked 15th overall by the Wild, and freshman Trent Frederic (14 goals, 16 assists), selected 29th by Boston.

Numbers: The Gophers have five hat tricks this season, which ties them for the national lead. … In six February games, the Gophers have scored 30 goals. Only Harvard (31) has scored more this month.