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Blackhawks return home to face surging Wild

Chicago is winless in its past four games (0-3-1) and meets Minnesota, which is 7-1-1 in its past nine.

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

The Blackhawks start a two-game home stand against Central division opponents and continue their five-game inter-division set against the Wild Sunday at the United Center. This is the first time Chicago and Minnesota will meet this season.

The Blackhawks (12-15-6) are now on a four-game losing streak (0-3-1). They’re seven of nine since the Nov. 26 game against the Stars, with Chicago’s only wins coming on a two-game road trip. The Blackhawks lost 4-3 against the Blues on Saturday in St. Louis after holding a 3-0 third-period lead. Brandon Saad scored twice and Patrick Kane added the other goal, but defensive lapses without Duncan Keith and Calvin de Haan added up, as the Blackhawks were outshot through the entirety of the game.

Robin Lehner will get the net once again after Corey Crawford did all he could to try and get the Blackhawks a win but was ultimately left with very little help. The Blackhawks’ defense continues to only get worse.

The Wild (16-12-5) are on a two-game winning streak after a 4-1 victory against the Flyers on Saturday and a three-game point streak after Minnesota’s 11-game point streak ended earlier this month. The Wild are first in the NHL in points with 24 since Nov. 14.

Rookie goaltending sensation Kappo Kahkonen will get his first career start against the Blackhawks in this game after Alex Stalock was tasked with taking down the Flyers. Joel Eriksson-Ek was injured in the game against the Flyers, and the Wild are still without important pieces in center Mikko Koivu, defenseman Jared Spurgeon and goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

The Wild are led by Eric Staal (25 points in 33 games), Zach Parise (13 goals) and Ryan Suter (19 points). The Blackhawks are by now intimately familiar with this trio, who have led the Wild for years. Newcomer Mats Zuccarello has 18 points in 29 games, including seven goals. Kevin Fiala, who was acquired from the Predators in return for Mikael Granlund, has outscored his counterpart with 17 points this season.

The Wild are fifth in the Central division with 37 points and are 2-6-1 in divisional games this season.

Season Series

The Blackhawks went 3-0-1 against the Wild last season. Jonathan Toews had a team-best eight (two goals, six assists) and Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane each had three goals and four assists. Brandon Saad pitched in three goals, Erik Gustafsson had four points and Dylan Strome had four assists in two games.

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Wild

48.0% (25th) — Corsi For — 47.9% (26th)

49.1% (T-22nd) — Faceoffs — 49.0% (24th)

2.67 (22nd) — Goals per game — 3.06 (14th)

3.12 (21st) — Goals against per game — 3.21 (25th)

16.0% (24th) — Power play — 17.3% (T-19th)

80.4% (17th) — Penalty kill — 78.3% (21st)



Kubalik — Toews — Saad

DeBrincat — Strome — Kane

Smith — Kampf — Carpenter

Nylander — Dach — Highmore

Gustafsson — Murphy

Gilbert — Seabrook

Maatta — Boqvist




Zucker — Staal — Zuccarello

Parise — Donato — Fiala

Greenway — Rask — Kunin

Foligno — Mayhew — Hartman

Suter — Dumba

Soucy — Brodin

Menell — Hunt



How to watch

When: 6 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network

Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV