ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Defeating the Chicago Blackhawks when your team is at full strength is difficult enough. The Minnesota Wild will try to do it Thursday while playing without a number of critical pieces.
Minnesota trails the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings by six points for the two wild-card spots for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. The Wild have two games in hand, but must snap out of a stretch where they have lost eight of their past 10 games in order to make a second-half charge.
"[We can't] get caught up in the big-picture stuff," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We need to be ready to handle adversity over the course of the game. I thought we played a good game last time, but we have to find a way to be better tonight. I know as good as we can be tonight, there are going to be times where they pressure us and we're going to be in our own zone, whether there's a bad call or a bad bounce or a goal against, we're going to have to respond in those situations."
Among the players out for Minnesota are goaltender Darcy Kuemper and defenseman Marco Scandella. Forward Zach Parise is also not expected to play as he spends time with his family following the passing of his father, former NHL player J.P. Parise, Wednesday evening.