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NHL on NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry: Blackhawks, Wild meet in Central clash

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 17: Chris Stewart #10 of the Minnesota Wild turns with the puck in front of Vinnie Hinostroza #48 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 17, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Getty Images

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

The Blackhawks and Wild are currently tied with 48 points in the Western Conference playoff picture. Both played last night with opposite outcomes as Minnesota dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Calgary, while Chicago put a hurt on the Ottawa Senators 8-2.

Brent Seabrook was not part of that big win as he was a healthy scratch. He’ll be back in the lineup soon, possibly even tonight, and this should serve as a bit of a wakeup call for the veteran who has six more years left on a deal carrying a $6.875 million cap hit.

“We’ve had eight defensemen all year, and six of them have all missed games,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said before Tuesday’s game via the Sun-Times. “A lot of times, some guys aren’t deserving when they do sit out. We felt that the other guys were deserving of playing tonight’s game and we think it [will be] a very limited experience for [Seabrook] tonight. We expect him to get back in there.”

Last night’s win gives Chicago four wins in their last six games, which have all come without Artem Anisimov and Corey Crawford. They have three more games before they start their bye week on Monday, and a good finish to this week, plus a couple days of rest and relaxation could do them well as they look to solidify a postseason spot.

As the West gets tighter, points become all the more important. Tuesday night’s overtime loss gave the Wild a much-needed point as they try to make up ground in the Central Division and remain in contention with the Blackhawks and others for a wild card berth. What’s the mindset heading into each game for Bruce Boudreau?

“Every game is like Game 7,” he said via the Pioneer Press. “If you get burnt out, you get burnt out.”

Hmm, Boudreau is aware of his career record (1-7) in Game 7s, yeah?

Like the Blackhawks, the Wild see their bye week begin next Monday after three games the rest of this week -- two of which come against division opponents.

The Wild would sure like to have a bit of a points cushion come next week rather than be sitting on a beach, checking their phones and watching ground get lost in the standings.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.