Blackhawks Edging Ahead of Wild in NHL Central
March has not been a good month for the Minnesota Wild. After losing to Carolina 3-1 on the 16th, the Wild are just 2-6 in the month. Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks have taken over first place in the NHL Central. The Blackhawks had an excellent February, going 9-1, and are 6-2 in March after winning 2-1 in Ottawa on the 16th. This stretch included three wins over the Wild.
Chicago will have to deal with the loss of center Artem Anisimov for the next three to four weeks. Anisimov, who has 22 goals and 23 assists, received a lower body injury, as the NHL calls it, in the Blackhawks’ win over Montreal on March 14th. But Chicago’s depth should carry it through. The Blackhawks also have both goalies back at full strength; Corey Crawford and Scott Darling have been outstanding this season. Darling had 33 saves in the win over Ottawa.
The Wild still have time to get things turned around. Minnesota has 92 points, second in the NHL Western Conference behind Chicago (96). The Wild will have to play Pacific Division leading San Jose, Ottawa (second in the Atlantic), and Metropolitan Division leading Washington yet this month, but three of their last four regular season games will be against Colorado and Arizona, the two worst teams in the the league.