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Blackhawks vs. Wild game preview: Carcillo returns, Crawford to make sixth straight start

Chicago seeks quicker start against Minnesota.

Minnesota Wild captain Zach Parise, right, will not play tonight due to the death of his father, former NHL player J.P. Parise.
Minnesota Wild captain Zach Parise, right, will not play tonight due to the death of his father, former NHL player J.P. Parise.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Carcillo will return to the lineup and Corey Crawford will make his sixth consecutive start as the Chicago Blackhawks visit the struggling Minnesota Wild when the Central Division foes meet Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Chicago and Minnesota have met last two postseasons, but only once this season.

Chicago defeated Minnesota 5-3 at the United Center on Dec. 16. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook each had a goal and two assists, and goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves in the win.

The Blackhawks have lost two of three to start 2015. Chicago dropped a 2-0 decision to visiting Colorado on Tuesday and look to avoid consecutive losses since the start of November. It was the sixth straight game Chicago allowed the opening goal.

The Blackhawks fired 54 shots on Semyon Varlamov, but failed to get one into the net. Corey Crawford, however, allowed two goals in two minutes into the game as the Blackhawks were shutout for the first time since Nov. 2 against the Winnipeg Jets.

Crawford will start and is 5-3-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average in his career against Minnesota.

Opponent Breakdown: Minnesota Wild

Minnesota have just two wins over their last 10 and trails second-place Chicago by 13 points in the division standings. The Wild, who are 10-4-5 at home this season, have won two straight and four of their last six at home against Chicago.

Minnesota dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the San Jose Sharks to open their three-game home stand. The Wild played without Zach Parise, who missed the game and will likely miss Thursday's contest as well after his father, former Minnesota North Star player J.P. Parise succumbed to lung cancer Wednesday evening. He was 73.

Statement from Parise family

For more on the passing of J.P. Parise, visit Hockey Wilderness and Lighthouse Hockey.

Jason Zucker scored two goals and an assist in the loss. Jared Spurgeon also scored for Minnesota, while Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves. Tuesday's game was only Zucker's second game back after missing four games with an illness. Zucker is tied for the team lead in goals with 14 and sixth in scoring with 19 points.

Forward Mikko Koivu and Kuemper both left practice because of injury. Kuemper will out at least a week, according to a report from Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune.

Niklas Backstrom is 6-10-1 with a 2.90 GAA in his career against Chicago and will get the start in net.

Injury Report

ChicagoKris Versteeg (hand) and Trevor vanRiemsdyk (knee)

Minnesota: Kuemper (lower-body), Marco Scandella (upper-body), Nate Prosser (illness), Mikael Granlund (wrist) and Keith Ballard (concussion)

Game Information

When: 7 p.m. CT

Where: Xcel Energy Center


Radio: WGN-720

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