The Chicago Blackhawks will seek their third consecutive win when they host Central Division rival Minnesota Wild on Wednesday at United Center.
Despite the absences of starting goaltender Corey Crawford and veteran center Artem Anisimov, who both have upper-body injuries, Chicago (21-15-6) has climbed its way back into the playoff picture. The Blackhawks have found their offensive footing with four-plus goals in four straight games and five of their past six after an 8-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Star winger Patrick Kane scored a career-high five points (one goal, four assists) in the Hawks’ victory, while North Dakota products Jonathan Toews and Nick Schmaltz scored two goals apiece. Kane leads Chicago with four points (two goals, two assists) against Minnesota in three games this season.
Minnesota (22-17-4) will also play its second game in as many nights after a 3-2 overtime home loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. The Wild rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime and grab a point. They’re winless in their last two games, and are tied with Chicago at 48 points but sit one spot back in the standings.
Without Crawford, the Hawks have deployed netminders Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass in net. Forsberg made 25 saves Tuesday in his second consecutive victory as he improved to 3-5-2 while registering his first career assist. He’s 0-1 in his career against Minnesota. Glass, an NHL journeymen who is a 32-year-old rookie, has never faced the Wild. He holds a 2-1-1 record with a 3.51 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.
The Wild will likely have Devan Dubnyk between the pipes after having Tuesday night off. Dubnyk is 15-9-2 with a 2.72 GAA and .916 save percentage this season, and he is 11-8-0 with a 2.90 GAA and .915 save percentage in 22 games against Chicago.
Wild backup Alex Stalock stopped 42 shots in the loss to Calgary. He is 1-1 with a 2.42 GAA and .938 save percentage against Chicago.
It will be the fourth meeting between the two teams. The Wild claimed the first game 5-2 on Oct. 12 in Chicago. The Hawks, however, won the next two with a 2-0 victory Nov. 4 in Minnesota and a 4-1 decision Dec. 17 in Chicago.
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Vinnie Hinostroza|
|F2||Ryan Hartman - Nick Schmaltz - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Patrick Sharp - David Kampf - Alex DeBrincat|
|F4||Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - Richard Panik|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Jordan Oesterle|
|D2||Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta|
|D3||Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy|
|F1||Tyler Ennis - Eric Staal - Zach Parise|
|F2||Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu- Joel Eriksson Ek|
|F3||Chris Stewart - Charlie Coyle - Mikael Granlund|
|F4||Marcus Foligno - Matt Cullen - Daniel Winnik|
|D1||Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon|
|D2||Jonas Brodin - Mathew Dumba|
|D3||Mike Reilly - Nate Prosser|
How to watch Wild at Blackhawks
Start time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Network