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Connor Murphy returns to the lineup as the Blackhawks face Minnesota

The Hawks have their first division matchup of the 2017-18 season tonight.

NHL: Preseason-Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The big red goal train that is the Chicago Blackhawks returns home to the United Center tonight to face the win-less Minnesota Wild, with defenseman Connor Murphy returning to the lineup. Murphy averages over 16 minutes of ice time for the Hawks, and sat against the Montreal Canadiens with a lower body injury. Murphy has zero points through three games so far this season.

Chicago (3-0-1) strides into the game coming off a 3-1 win in Montreal, where Alex DeBrincat scored his first goal in the NHL. Brandon Saad also scored his fifth goal of the year, which is his seventh point of the season (tied for third in the league). The Blackhawks’ offense has produced the third-highest goals scored average so far this year (5.3 goals per game), and they look to continue that trend against a Minnesota squad that’s surrendered an average of four goals a game.

The Wild (0-1-1) limp into Thursday’s matchup without their stars Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund in the lineup. Parise is suffering from an undisclosed injury, and Granlund will be out the next four games with a groin injury. This gap has been detrimental to the Wild as their offense has struggled to produce in the first two games of the year.

Winger Chris Stewart has scored a goal in each of the first two games this season, but he hasn’t had a lot of help apart from Eric Staal’s performance against Carolina last Saturday. Minnesota will continue to lean on the goaltending efforts of Devan Dubnyk to keep them in games. Dubnyk gave up four goals in the season opener (his only start so far), and will look to rebound against a strong Chicago offense.

Last season, Chicago was 3-1-0 against Minnesota. Let’s see if they can get off on the right foot in this matchup Thursday.

Projected lineups


Position Players
Position Players
F1 Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
F2 Ryan Hartman - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
F3 Patrick Sharp - Tanner Kero - Alex DeBrincat
F4 Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden
D1 Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
D2 Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy
D3 Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta
Goaltender Corey Crawford


Position Players
Position Players
F1 Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
F2 Marcus Foligno - Mikko Koivu - Tyler Ennis
F3 Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson EK - Chris Stewart
F4 Daniel Winnik - Matt Cullen - Gustav Olofsson
D1 Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
D2 Jonas Brodin - Mathew Dumba
D3 Kyle Quincey - Mike Reilly
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk

How to watch Blackhawks vs Wild

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago IL
TV: NBC Sports Chicago (NBC Sports Chicago Live)