Gameday preview: Chicago at Wild
- December 5, 2013 - 12:12 AM
7 p.m. VS. CHICAGO • XCEL ENERGY CENTER • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild ended a four-game winless streak with Monday’s 2-0 victory over Philadelphia. The Blackhawks, the best offensive team in the NHL at 3.48 goals per game, had a six-game winning streak ended Tuesday by Dallas. The Wild and Blackhawks split two games this season; the Blackhawks won in Minnesota 5-1 on Oct. 28 (Niklas Backstrom started both games because Josh Harding had a leg injury). In the past 22 meetings with Chicago including last season’s playoffs, the Wild has won seven times and only twice in regulation.
Players to watch: Harding is expected to start. He is 11-1 with a 1.12 goals-against average and .949 save percentage at home. D Ryan Suter has topped 30 minutes in eight of the past 14 games and has 28 points all-time against Chicago, his most against any team. F Patrick Kane is tied for third in the NHL with 32 points and tied for third with 16 goals. C Jonathan Toews is tied for 20th with 25 points. RW Marian Hossa has 21 points in 24 games vs. the Wild.
Numbers: C Mikko Koivu is expected to play his 566th game, moving him into second on the Wild’s all-time list (Nick Schultz, 743). … The Wild is 0-for-11 on the power play in the past six games. … The Wild is 11-3-2 at home, tied with St. Louis for most home wins and points (24) in the West.
Injuries: Wild C Mikael Granlund (concussion) is out. Blackhawks C Michal Handzus (illness), LW Bryan Bickell (knee), G Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and C Andrew Shaw (undisclosed) are out.
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