Home sweet home. The Chicago Blackhawks are back at the United Center for the first time in over two weeks Tuesday night to host the Minnesota Wild. The circus is officially gone and it's time for hockey to continue at the Madhouse as the calendar flips over to December.
The circus trip was a mixed bag for the Hawks, who finished the six-game trip with a 3-1-2 record. The team has been rising up the Central Division standings, though, and currently sits third. It's still crowded in the division, but as we noted a few days ago, it's looking like the competition won't be quite as stiff as it seemed the first couple weeks of the season. That's good news for a Chicago team that's still in playoff position and has room to improve.
The lines also look to be getting mixed up for the game with Andrew Desjardins sitting and Marko Dano getting the nod a day after his 21st birthday. Dano's mom is in town visiting the young forward and will apparently be seeing her son in an NHL game live for the first time, so that's fun. Less fun is that fact that Teuvo Teravainen is being paired with Brandon Mashinter, which doesn't exactly go toward giving the 21-year-old the steady role he could use.
Minnesota Wild | Record: 11-7-4 | 5th in Central Division | Goal differential: +2
Minnesota enters this game reeling a bit. The team has won just one of its past seven games and now sits on the fringe of a wild card spot. Where we once figured five playoff teams would surely come from the Central Division, now it seems possible that a team from the Pacific could crack into the wild card mix, especially with the Coyotes playing above expectations so far.
Things haven't been getting better recently for the Wild, either. The team has been outshot, 73-41, over the past two games -- both losses -- and there's been some growing frustration. Star defenseman Ryan Suter recently complained about lineup changes that separated him from Jared Spurgeon. This is still a quality team in Minnesota, but right now it's trying to find answers during a tough stretch.
Here's a quick rundown of the team's projected lines:
Wild: Justin Fontaine, Tyler Graovac
How to Watch
When: 7 p.m. CT
Where: United Center, Chicago