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Blackhawks take on Wild in St. Paul

(SportsNetwork.com) - A Minnesota Wild team that was shut out for the second time in four games on Tuesday could be getting a major boost to its offense.

The Wild may have forward Zach Parise back in the lineup for the first time in 15 games on Thursday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks, who wrap up a set of back-to-back games on consecutive nights.

Parise has not played since Dec. 22 due to a foot injury originally suffered on Nov. 25 when he blocked a shot. He was expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks at that time, but returned after missing just one game.

However, the injury lingered and he was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 28.

The 29-year-old, who has 15 goals and 27 points in 37 games this season, put in a full practice on Wednesday and said afterwards that he felt good but would probably wait until morning skate to see if he will play tonight.

"We don't know that yet. The plan was to get him involved, full duty in practice and see how he responds to that," echoed Wild coach Mike Yeo,. "He looked good. We weren't really worried about how he was going to look, it's a matter of how he feels."

Minnesota, also without forward Mikko Koivu (ankle surgery) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness), was blanked 4-0 by Dallas on Tuesday just a few days after recording a 3-2 overtime win at home over the Stars. This time around, the Wild failed to get any of their 18 shots past Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen.

Darcy Kuemper gave up all four goals on 36 shots for the Wild, who had won seven of nine coming into the contest.

"Well we won the opening faceoff and spent 40 seconds in our own zone, that's a bad sign right there," said Yeo. "We weren't ready to execute, to get going the right way and it just trickled on from there."

Minnesota is 18-7-2 at home this season and begins a four-game road trip on Saturday in San Jose. The club is just 9-13-3 on the road.

Kuemper is in line to make his sixth straight start tonight -- the first of his career versus the Blackhawks -- and should be backed up by Niklas Backstrom. He had been out with a lingering lower-body issue but netminder Johan Gustafsson was reassigned to the minors on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks had a two-game win streak snapped last night with a 5-4 shootout setback in Detroit. Though it was Chicago's fifth loss in eight games, the club has a point in all but one of those contests (3-1-4) and still leads St. Louis by five points for first place in the Central Division.

Patrick Sharp, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa all scored in regulation, while Jonathan Toews and Sharp added shootout goals. However, Shaw couldn't extend the tiebreaker in the sixth round, denied on his chance after Corey Crawford was bested for the third time in the shootout a skater earlier.

Crawford made 27 saves through overtime.

"We weren't very good tonight," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They worked hard. They were the harder-working team and getting ourselves a point out of there, with a chance for two in the shootout, certainly we'll take a point because we didn't play well enough or hard enough."

Hossa scored in a third straight game and has a goal in five of his last six contests, with six goals over that time to give him 21 on the season.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, though, has gone 11 straight games without a goal but did have two assists against the Red Wings. He has five helpers over his goal drought.

Antti Raanta may get the start tonight for Chicago and the rookie has never faced the Wild. He is 12-1-3 with a 2.25 goals against average and .911 save percentage in 17 games (15 starts) on the season.

The Blackhawks have lost two of three to the Wild this season and have lost six of their past nine in Minnesota.

Kane has two goals and two assists in the three meetings this season, while Parise has two goals and Jason Pominville is pacing the Wild with three goals and an assist.

01/23 11:07:42 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal 4/18 7:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay CNBC, CBC, RDS, FSN-FL
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 1-0.
Detroit 4/18 7:30 PM ET
Boston NBCSN, TSN, FSN-DET, NESN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Dallas 4/18 10:00 PM ET
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Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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