In the first game of a home-and-home between the two teams, the Chicago Blackhawks will play host to the Minnesota Wild Saturday night. The Blackhawks are coming off a 6-5 overtime loss on Thursday, but have recorded at least one point in each of their last seven games. The Wild have won two games in a row, recording points in each of their last three. The last time these teams met was in last year`s playoffs, with the Blackhawks taking care of the Wild en route to a 4-1 series victory.
Here are some notes for tonight`s game:
- The Blackhawks signed 30 year old forward Brad Mills on Friday to a one-year contract. He has been called up and will play tonight. Look for Mills to receive some time on the penalty kill, along with playing on the fourth line.
- The Blackhawks have also called up forward Jeremy Morin from Rockford. Morin has four goals and four assists through eight games at Rockford.
- With Mills and Morin in the lineup, Michal Handzus and Ben Smith will be scratched tonight. Handzus is dealing with an upper-body injury that could keep him out of the lineup for a few games. Smith will be a healthy scratch.
- The Wild will be without goaltender Josh Harding, defensemen Jonas Brodin and Keith Ballard, and forwards Charlie Coyle and Mike Rupp.
Battle Between The Pipes
It looks like Crawford will be back in net for the Blackhawks tonight after Khabibulin started Thursday against the Lightning in a 6-5 overtime loss. Crawford has played well this season, going 4-0-1 in his last five starts.
Minnesota Wild: Niklas Backstrom (0-0-2, 2.98 GAA, .867 save %)
Backstrom will be getting the start for the Wild tonight, his first start since October 8. Backstrom missed some time with a lower-body injury and is not fully healthy. He is almost being forced to start tonight as starting goaltender Josh Harding left Thursday`s game with an injury.
Players To Watch
Toews is currently second on the Blackhawks in points and he has recorded three points over his last two games. That's not the reason why he's a player to watch tonight though. Toews has picked up a penalty in each of his last four games, sending his team to the penalty kill. With a team that ranks last in killing penalties, Toews needs to do a better job staying out of the box tonight.
Parise has three points over his last two games and looks to be back on track after only recording one point in his previous four. Parise has goal scoring potential, netting 30 or more goals five teams in his career. He scored 45 goals with the New Jersey Devils in 2008-2009.
Morin will make his season debut for the Blackhawks tonight after being recalled from Rockford. Though he will probably receive limited minutes in his first game, it is up to Morin to make a positive impression so he can remain with the team.
Minnesota Wild: Forward, Nino Niederreiter: 2 G, 3 A, 5 P
Niederreiter is in his first season with the Wild, after spending time with the Islanders and in the AHL. Having yet to reach expectations, Niederreiter is starting to show what he is capable of, recording two points over his last four games.
Tonight's game will begin at 7 pm CT.
Let's Go Hawks!
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