7 P.M. VS. Chicago • XCEL energy Center • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild has won three in a row overall, four in a row at home and is tied with six other teams for most points at home (10, 4-0-2). The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks dropped a 5-3 decision to Minnesota in the front end of the home-and-home Saturday in Chicago. They’ve been uncharacteristically mediocre defensively, allowing 2.73 goals per game (16th in the NHL). The Wild is tied for fourth-best (2.00 goals allowed per game).
Players to watch: Wild LW Zach Parise has points in three consecutive games, is tied for second in the NHL with four power-play goals and is second with 63 shots. RW Jason Pominville has three goals in the past three games. C Mikael Granlund and D Ryan Suter have three assists each in the past two games. Blackhawks F Patrick Kane is minus-9, tied for third-worst in the NHL, but leads Chicago with six goals. F Bryan Bickell is on a four-game goal streak. Eden Prairie’s Nick Leddy assisted on two goals Saturday but turned the puck over to Granlund for Pominville’s game-winner.
Numbers: The Wild has scored at least one power-play goal in nine of 12 games and given up at least one power-play goal in 10 of 12. The Wild’s power play ranks fifth in the NHL, its penalty kill 26th. … The Blackhawks are last on the penalty kill in the NHL (72.2 percent); the Wild scored five seconds into its first Saturday. … The Wild has allowed 23 shots per game, first in the NHL, and has allowed six 5-on-5 goals, first in the NHL.
Injuries: Wild goaltender Josh Harding (hamstring) is expected to back up G Niklas Backstrom. D Jonas Brodin (broken cheekbone), C Charlie Coyle (knee), D Keith Ballard (concussion, whiplash) and LW Mike Rupp (knee) are out. Blackhawks center Michal Handzus (upper body) is out.