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Blackhawks make first trip to Minnesota to face the Wild

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Can they make it two in a row?

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Fresh off a solid-but-not-really-spectacular 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks head north on Saturday for their second matchup of the season with the Minnesota Wild — their first meeting on Minnesota’s home ice.

The last matchup between these two teams swung heavily in Minnesota’s favor late thanks to a controversial offside non-call. Chris Stewart’s goal in the middle of the third period that broke a 1-1 deadlock and was the first of four goals the Wild would score that period — including two empty-netters. Chicago lost that game 5-2, although it was far closer on the scoreboard. Minnesota owned the puck in the first period of that game (64 CF%) while Chicago dominated the second period (67.7 CF%) before a relatively even final period.

Joel Quenneville sticks to his long-preferred strategy of “it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it,” using the same lineup against the Wild that he did in Wednesday’s shutout of the Flyers. Corey Crawford will set up in net for the Hawks. As for Minnesota, Kyle Quincey returns from a minor injury and slots back in on the third D pairing for the Wild, who will still be without forwards Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise due to their long-term injuries. The Wild will use their No. 1 goalie as well, giving Devan Dubnyk the nod.

Minnesota opened its season by winning just one of five — that one being the aforementioned victory over Chicago. They’ve been better of late, though, winning four of their last six including a 6-3 home win over Montreal on Thursday. The numbers haven’t been great for Minnesota. They’re ranked 16th on the PK (80.95%) and 15th on the PP (18.42%). They’re team CF% of 46.29% is fifth-worst in the league, and Dubnyk’s season numbers (.905 SA%, 3.03 GAA) are well below his career averages (.916, 2.55).

It’s two teams in need of a win to help move away from a rough start in October. Given how close the Central Division races tend to be, these are two crucial points on the line.

Projected lineups

Blackhawks

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

Wild

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund
F2 Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Luke Kunin
F3 Marcus Foligno - Joel Erikkson - Chris Stewart
F4 Daniel Winnik - Matt Cullen - Tyler Ennis
D1 Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
D2 Jonas Brodin - Matthew Dumba
D3 Kyle Quincey - Mike Reilly
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Wild

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
TV: WGN