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Chicago Blackhawks (20-5-4) at Minnesota Wild (16-8-5)

December 5th, 2013 at 5:49 PM
By Andrew McIntyre

Playing just one home game after a seven-game road trip, the Chicago Blackhawks are back on the road tonight as they visit the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks are coming off a 4-3 loss on Tuesday to the Dallas Stars after winning six straight. The Wild are coming off a 2-0 win on Monday after losing four straight. This is the third of five meetings between the teams. The teams split the first two meetings, with the Blackhawks winning the most recent game on October 28.

Here are some notes for tonight's game:

  • The Blackhawks will be without forwards Andrew Shaw (upper-body) and Michal Handzus (illness) tonight. Brandon Pirri was recently sent down to Rockford, while Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom were called up and will play tonight.
  • Duncan Keith is on an eight-game point streak, tallying 10 assists over that stretch. Keith is third in the NHL with 24 assists.
  • The Blackhawks record the second most shots on net at 34.6 per game, while the Wild allow the second least amount of shots with 24.9 per game.
  • Wild forward Mikael Granlund will be out of the lineup as he is dealing with a concussion.
  • Wild defenseman Ryan Suter leads all NHL players in ice time with 29:34 per game. He has 15 assists on the season but has yet to score a goal.

Battle Between The Pipes

Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford (17-5-3, 2.43 GAA, .909 SV%)

After winning four straight, Crawford lost his last game on Tuesday, allowing four goals on 18 shots. Crawford ranks first in the NHL with 17 wins, but has yet to record a shutout on the season. He has allowed six goals on 55 shots against the Wild in two games this season.

Minnesota Wild: Josh Harding (14-4-3, 1.45 GAA, .939 SV%)

Harding is coming off a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. His 1.45 goals against average ranks first in the NHL and he is tied for first with three shutouts. Harding didn't play in either game against the Blackhawks earlier this season.

Players To Watch

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Jonathan Toews: 12 G, 13 A, 25 P

Toews is second on the Blackhawks in goals and points. He has been contributing in other aspects of the game, but has not registered a point in three of his last four games. 

Minnesota Wild: Forward, Zach Parise: 11 G, 12 A, 23 P

Parise leads the Wild with 23 points, but has also failed to record a point in three of his last four games. He has one goal so far in the season series against Chicago.

X Factors

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Ben Smith: 3 G, 6 A, 9 P

Smith doesn't light up the stat sheet but he has been productive during his time on the ice for the Blackhawks. With the latest injuries and call-ups, Smith is expected to get a few more minutes tonight and could make that work to his advantage.

Minnesota Wild: Forward, Dany Heatley: 6 G, 3 A, 9 P

After a slow start to the season, Heatley has started to pick it up, recording four goals in his last eight games. Although a shell of his former self, Heatley was once a 50-goal scorer and definitely has the tools to light the lamp.

Tonight`s game starts at 7 pm. CT.

Let`s Go Hawks!

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