Game Day: Chicago at Wild

  • Updated: December 14, 2011 - 12:14 AM

A look at the Wild's Wednesday night matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks:

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Former WIld fan favorite Andrew Brunette, who signed with Chicago in the offseason, returns to Minnesota to face his former team.

Photo: M. Spencer Green, Associated Press

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Preview: With the Blackhawks waiting in St. Paul while Minnesota played Tuesday in Winnipeg, the NHL-leading Wild returns home for the first time since Dec. 2. The Wild has won eight of its past 10 at home. This is a battle between the top two teams in the Western Conference. Chicago has won six of its past eight. The Wild is 5-9 in its past 14 against Chicago and has lost three in a row at home by an 11-3 margin.

Players to watch: Blackhawks LW Andrew Brunette, who spent the previous three years in a second stint with the Wild, returns for the first time. He has scored 59 goals at Xcel Energy Center -- second to Marian Gaborik's 109. Former Wild first-round draft pick Nick Leddy is tied for 19th in defensemen scoring with 17 points. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane have combined for 53 goals and 125 points. Sharp has a six-game point streak (six goals, nine points). ... Wild LW/RW Dany Heatley played in his 700th NHL game Tuesday at Winnipeg. Since joining the NHL in 2001, he ranks third in goals (334), fifth in points (710), first in power-play goals (132) and second in game-winning goals (60).

Numbers: The Blackhawks average 3.2 goals per game, second-most in the West, and give up 2.97, fourth-most in the West. ... The Wild has lost 113 man games to injury, the Blackhawks 21. ... The Wild has more victories against the Blackhawks (24) than any other team outside of the Northwest Division. ... The Wild is 2-0-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.

Injuries: Wild C Matt Cullen (illness) and G Josh Harding (whiplash) are questionable. RW/LW Devin Setoguchi (knee), D Justin Falk (upper body) and D Marek Zidlicky (concussion) are doubtful.

MICHAEL RUSSO

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