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Reply To: NHL • Sunday Service Plays • 2/21/16

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Preview: Chicago at Minnesota

When: 3:30 PM ET, Sunday, February 21, 2016
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The “State of Hockey” will host an outdoor game for the first time in NHL history as the Minnesota Wild take to TCF Bank Stadium to vie for a season-high four-game winning streak when they face the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. While the weather conditions (approximately 40 degrees) are expected to be downright balmy for Minnesota at this time of year, the Wild have heated up as well after interim coach John Torchetti replaced Mike Yeo behind the bench.

Minnesota would like to extend its winning streak at the expense of Chicago, which has ended the Wild’s playoff run in each of the last three years. Minnesota has gained a sliver of revenge by taking the first two contests of this season’s series, posting a 5-4 triumph on Oct. 30 and a 2-1 decision on Dec. 1. Charlie Coyle scored in the first meeting, and has tallied in all three games of the Wild’s recent road trip and four of the last five contests to pull even with Zach Parise for the team lead in goals (18). “It’s a world of difference, it feels like,” Coyle told reporters after Minnesota’s 5-2 victory over Edmonton on Thursday. “All of sudden we feel good about ourselves, our confidence is growing each game and it’s a huge road trip for us.”

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, Sportsnet, TVA

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (38-18-5): Patrick Kane had an assist in Chicago’s 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday to extend his point streak to four games (two goals, five assists). The 27-year-old superstar also had an assist in the first meeting with the Wild and scored one of his team-leading 34 goals in the second for his 29th point in 33 career encounters versus the club. Captain Jonathan Toews, who tallied twice in the first meeting with Minnesota, has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last seven games overall.

ABOUT THE WILD (26-22-10): Mikael Granlund scored and set up a goal against the Oilers for his fifth point in the last five games (two goals, three assists). The 23-year-old Finn set up a pair of tallies in the most recent meeting this season with Chicago while fellow countryman and captain Mikko Koivu had three assists in the first one. Koivu has scored a goal and set up four others in the last three contests to increase his team-leading point total to 42 – six shy of last season’s output.

OVERTIME

1. Chicago will be playing in its fourth outdoor game, with the first coming when it hosted the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009.

2. The Wild are 10-6-1 in the last 17 regular-season meetings with the Blackhawks.

3. Chicago is 8-for-13 on the power play in the last three games after going 2-for-29 in the previous 10.

PREDICTION: Wild 3, Blackhawks 2