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.
|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|
|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|
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)