wild gameday


Preview: The Wild has won four in a row at home but is 1-3-1 on the road and has scored seven goals in that stretch. It opens a home-and-home series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. In the past 20 meetings including last year's playoffs, the Wild has won six and only one in regulation. Including last year's 0-3 playoffs, the Wild has won two of the past 10 visits to Chicago. The Blackhawks are 5-0-2 in their past seven overall with 21 goals in those seven games.

Players to watch: G Niklas Backstrom will make his first start since straining his knee Oct. 8. Backstrom stopped all seven shots he saw in the third period of Thursday's 3-1 win over Carolina. LW Zach Parise leads the Wild with five goals and eight points and is second in the NHL with 59 shots. Blackhawks F's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have combined for 15 points in 10 games. RW Marian Hossa has 10 goals and 20 points in 22 career games against Minnesota.

Numbers: The Wild has scored at least one power-play goal in eight of 11 games and given up at least one power-play goal in nine of 11. The Wild's power play ranks fifth in the NHL, its penalty kill 27th. … The Blackhawks are last on the penalty kill in the NHL; the Wild didn't score a power-play goal against Chicago in the playoffs.