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  • Gamethread: Wild vs. Blackhawks (1:00 p.m.)

    Image courtesy of © Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
    Thomas Williams

    The Minnesota Wild are on a roll with their new head coach. In the two games since the Evason-for-Hynes swap happened behind the bench the Wild have dominated on the score board. A 3-1 victory over the annoying divisional Blues, and then a powerful 6-1 win over the Predators. Great.

    Now, they are hosting Connor Bedard and his Chicago Blackhawks, who are going through it right now. They did just acquire Anthony Beauvillier, but he is still having issues with a U.S. visa, so he is out of the lineup, and they are scratching the young and talented Lukas Reichel. The lineup is still not cemented, but that roster does not look good.

    So, it would be the perfect opportunity for the Wild to have their first loss under Hynes, just because hockey works that way.

    Ryan Hartman is back from suspension and on the fourth line, as all three lines in the top-nine have been clicking. Now, he gets to face his old team. And speaking of former Blackhawks, Marc-Andre Fleury will be in between the pipes.

    When: 1:00 p.m. CT
    Where: Xcel Energy Center
    TV: Bally Sports North
    Radio: KFAN 100.3

    Projected Wild lineup

    Kirill Kaprizov -- Marco Rossi -- Mats Zuccarello
    Marcus Johansson -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Matt Boldy
    Marcus Foligno -- Frederick Gaudreau -- Patrick Maroon
    Brandon Duhaime -- Connor Dewar -- Ryan Hartman

    Jonas Brodin -- Brock Faber
    Jake Middleton -- Jared Spurgeon
    Alex Goligoski -- Zach Bogosian

    Marc-Andre Fleury
    Filip Gustavsson

    Projected Blackhawks lineup

    Cole Guttman -- Connor Bedard -- Philipp Kurashev
    Jason Dickinson -- Tyler Johnson -- Taylor Raddysh
    Nick Foligno -- Ryan Donato -- Joey Anderson
    Ross Johnson -- Boris Katchouk -- MacKenzie Entwistle

    Alex Vlasic -- Seth Jones
    Kevin Korchinski -- Connor Murphy
    Jarred Tinordi -- Louis Crevier

    Petr Mrazek
    Arvid Soderblom

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    I’m no longer in the camp of wanting the wild to bottom out so we can get high draft picks to rebuild. this Chicago hockey team is absolutely terrible. I can’t imagine watching five seasons of this kind of hockey waiting for the draft picks to pan out.  Even if Bedard is the prize

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    The Wild have looked significantly better the last 3 games. They still can’t finish. Tape to tape plays with poor shooting or missed rebounds. They should have 4-5 more goals easily. Until they bury teams, I’m in doubt. Against a good team how soon does the energy leave the bench when they fall behind?  Their inability to finish is a problem that has plagued them all year. 

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    Three games, three wins, and a 13-3 aggregate score looks like a pretty good first week for the Hynes regime.  That said, it was against the 5th, 6th, and last-place teams in the Central. 

    Hopefully they can build on this and see some better performances against the top teams as well.

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