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Gophers vs. Michigan to feature NHL draft picks aplenty

GOPHERS MEN'S HOCKEY SERIES PREVIEW

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday vs. Michigan at 3M Arena at Mariucci

TV; Radio: BTN; 103.5-FM both nights

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Randy Johnson's preview:

Opening bell: The Gophers (19-8-5, 12-6-4 Big Ten) and Wolverines (17-12-3, 10-10-2) will battle for third place in the Big Ten on the final weekend of the regular season. Minnesota has 37 points in the standings to Michigan's 34 and needs to secure two points to clinch third place. The teams met in Ann Arbor, Mich., in November, with the Gophers winning the opener 4-3 and the teams tying 2-2 in the finale with Michigan taking the extra standings point for a shootout win. … The Gophers, coming off a bye week, are on a 10-2-1 roll, while Michigan swept Notre Dame last weekend and is 7-5 in conference play in the second half of the season.

Watch them: The series features 24 NHL draft picks, 13 for the Gophers and 11 for the Wolverines. Included in that are five first-rounders – F's Jimmy Snuggerud and Oliver Moore, and D Sam Rinzel for the Gophers, and F's Rutger McGroarty and Frank Nazar III for Michigan.

Forecast: The ability to stay out of the penalty box could be key for the Gophers, who are averaging 6.6 penalty minutes per game, the lowest figure in the nation. Michigan boasts the nation's top power play (42-for-120, 35%). Led by F's Gavin Brindley (20-22-42) and McGroarty (12-28-40), Michigan averages 4.28 goals per game (third nationally) and has six players with 30 or more points.

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