NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Saturday’s matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks. Regionalized coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Since the calendar turned to 2019, the Wild have gone 8-4-0 and jumped from fifth to third in the Central Division. Friday’s 3-1 defeat against the Stars marked their first game back since their bye week and the All-Star Break. While the team was optimistic that they can hold on to their current playoff spot, general manager Paul Fenton was more ominous as the trade deadline approaches.
“I’m just going to watch here the next couple weeks and then make a decision as to which direction we’re going,” he said.
Chicago’s matchup with Buffalo on Friday — a 7-3 victory — marked their first game since their bye week and the All-Star Break as well. They’ve now won three straight after losing five consecutive games before that (0-3-2). They remain in the basement of the Central Division and near the bottom of the NHL standings, but are only five points out of a playoff spot.
The last time the Blackhawks finished dead last in the NHL was 1956-57, when the NHL was composed of just the Original Six franchises.
“Crazier things have happened,” said captain Jonathan Toews. “So we’ve got to have that belief in ourselves that if we start putting some wins together and really building some confidence and have that belief that our best hockey this year is yet to be played. I think it’s exciting when you have purpose and you have a reason for playing. Every team believes they can make the playoffs, so why not us?”
What: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild
Where: Xcel Energy Center
When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m. ET
Live stream: You can watch the Blackhawks-Wild stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Collin Delia
Starting goalie: Alex Stalock