The Gophers enter the final day of the regular season chasing a Big Ten conference championship with two other teams.
Michigan and the Gophers took over first place in the conference standings with victories on Friday night and control their own fate on Saturday. If both teams win, they'll each finish with 39 points and share the Big Ten regular-season title. The Wolverines, however, would be the Big Ten tournament No. 1 seed, winning the seeding tiebreaker with more conference wins than the Gophers.
There are a couple more scenarios where the Gophers and Wolverines share the title. If both teams tie and lose in a shootout, they'll be co-champs. And if they tie and win a shootout, they would be co-champions. Michigan would still earn the No. 1 seed in each of this outcomes.
There is also a scenario where the Gophers share the regular-season title with Michigan State. If the Spartans beat Michigan they'll finish with 37 points, meaning the Gophers would have to tie Penn State and lose in a shootout to share the title with Michigan State. In this outcome, the Gophers would be the Big Ten tournament No. 1 seed.
For the Gophers be outright Big Ten champions, they need to sweep Penn State, and Michigan State needs to beat Michigan. The Gophers would finish in first, the Spartans in second and Michigan in third. Or they need to tie and win a shootout, with Michigan tying and losing in a shootout.
Michigan State would win outright with a victory and a Gophers' loss. The Spartans could also falls as far as fourth place in the standings if they lose and Penn State beats the Gophers. The Nittany Lions, who were eliminated from contention on Friday, would finish in third in this scenario.
Michigan can win it outright with a win and a Gophers' loss. If the Wolverines tie and win in a shootout, and the Gophers tie and lose in a shootout, it would also earn Michigan the outright title.
Aside from a championship banner, the top three teams are fighting for a bye in the first round of next week's Big Ten tournament. The top two teams automatically advance to Friday's semifinal games.
Here's the lineup that the Gophers are hoping will earn the senior class a fourth consecutive conference title, something no other class has done in program history.
• Gophers' Saturday lines
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Leon Bristedt, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Sam Warning, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
Taylor Cammarata, Justin Kloos, Vinni Lettieri
A.J. Michaelson, Christian Isackson, Jack Glover
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Ryan Collins
Mike Reilly, Jake Bischoff
Ben Marshall, Michael Brodzinski
Adam Wilcox, Nick Lehr, Ryan Coyne
Penn State will be without Scott Conway for the series finale. The freshman forward was suspended one game for making contact to the head on Gophers' Vinni Lettieri late in the third period on Friday. He was ejected from the game. Read more about the incident and the suspension.
Friday replay: Gophers strike early in shutout win over Penn State, remain in race for Big Ten regular-season title, read Friday night's game story and postgame blog. Watch postgame video of Gophers coach Don Lucia and senior forward Kyle Rau.
• Series Preview: No. 15 Gophers vs. Penn State
7:05 p.m. Saturday at Mariucci Arena.
TV/live stream/radio: FSN Plus; BTN2Go;1500-AM.
Minnesota (20-12-3, 11-5-3 Big Ten): The Gophers aren’t overlooking the opportunity to win a fourth consecutive conference championship this weekend, but their biggest concern is improving their status for an NCAA tournament berth. Entering the final weekend of the regular season, they’re on the bubble. For more on the Gophers-Penn State series, read the full series preview and advance.
• With Penn State in town this weekend, we took a look at college hockey expansion and how the Nittany Lions are the footprint for expansion hopes. Arizona State followed Penn State's prompt, so who will be next? Read about who might be considering varsity men's hockey and join the debate about if all this expansion is good for the sport.