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Hockey Day Minnesota Rematch With Blackhawks

January 22, 2022, 12:34 PM ET [2 Comments]
Dan Wallace
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It's Hockey Day Minnesota with the festivities this year taking place at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato. The day begins with Edina and Andover a matchup of the top two girls high school teams un Minnesota. Next up the boys high school game features Prior Lake vs. East Grand Forks, and the final match outdoors features St. Thomas vs Minnesota State men's contest.

The Wild will host the Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center to wrap up the annual celebration of our favorite game here in the State of Hockey!

Last night the Wild came out strong in Chicago and took control of the game with the Blackhawks from the very start. Kirill Kaprizov got his first taste of the rivalry between the Wild and Hawks and if his firstvtwo shifts are any indication of what is to come it is great news for Wild fans. Those shifts both ended with Wild goals and the tone of the game was set.

Ryan Hartman scored twice against his former team raising his season total to a team leading 18 and bringing him to just one shy of his career high achieved in his first full NHL season with the Blackhawks in 2017. Hartman has been a great addition to the Wild since he got here and his role has expanded to top line center between Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, and he has taken the bull by the horns.

Joel Eriksson Ek's presence back in the Wild lineup, was a stabilizing force especially on the penalty kill, which was called upon almost immediately to start the game. JEE was outstanding on that particular kill and also created a quality scoring opportunity to boot.

Kaapo Kahkonen stood tall in the Wild net once again and if not for a stumble when it appeared his skate got caught in the ice he may have competed the shutout. Thirty five saves and another victory for the Wild's "backup" goaltender who is now 4-0-1 in his five plus games since taking over in the third period of the Winter Classic. Kahkonen has given up just 10 goals on 189 shots against over that stretch.

Kahkonen is clearly in the competition for the top role in the Wild net which gives the Wild a much better outlook with the condensed busy schedule the team will be facing over the next three months.

The captain returns tonight as Jared Spurgeon will be back in the lineup for the first time since December 16th when the Wild hosted Buffalo. Fortunately because of the crazy schedule and all of the Wild games that were postponed, Spurgeon has only missed seven games despite being on the shelf for five weeks. Jordie Benn will remain in the lineup as Calen Addison has been assigned to the Taxi squad.

Chicago will come out hungry tonight as they have been clawing their way back into the playoff discussion. Last night is over and the slate is clean with the Wild looking to carry their momentum from last night, while the Hawksbwill bring a much better effort from the outset. Expect Marc-Andre Fleury to be in the Blackhawks net after his early exit last night. He will be better and the Wild will have to work harder for their goals tonight.

Today is officially Hockey Day in Minnesota!!!

It's always Hockey Day in The State of Hockey!
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