Wild Vs. Blackhawks: Minnesota Looks To Reach .500 With Win

PITTSBURGH PA - JANUARY 8: Nick Schultz #55 of the Minnesota Wild and Brent Burns #8 of the Minnesota Wild congratulate goaltender Jose Theodore #60 of the Minnesota Wild after Theodore posted a shutout in a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 8 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Minnesota will attempt to slow down a red-hot Blackhawks squad on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Minnesota Wild are long out of the playoff race at 34-35-11, but can still manage a respectable .500 record for the season with a win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

The Wild are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the playoff-bound Nashville Predators on Tuesday, after edging these same Blackhawks 5-4 over the weekend. Minnesota is set to conclude its 2012 regular season schedule with a home date against Phoenix on Sunday.

Recently called up prospect Tyler Cuma, the 23rd overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft, is expected to see significant ice time on defense for the Wild to close out the year, and will be a player to watch against Chicago's elite offensive players. Cuma has yet to play in an NHL game during his career, and represents a sizable chunk of Minnesota's future on the back end.

For more on the Minnesota Wild, head to Hockey Wilderness. For more on the Blackhawks, check out Second City Hockey. And for more NHL coverage, head over to SB Nation's NHL hub page.

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