Saturday, January 14, 2017

Preview: Minnesota Wild At Chicago Blackhawks

By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)

Gametime: Sunday, January 15th, 6PM CT, Television: NBCSN Radio: WGN-720AM

Sunday marks the first meeting between the two top teams in the Western Conference.

The Wild come into the United Center winners of 15 of their last 17 games (15-1-1).  The Blackhawks have played .500 hockey in their last 10 (5-4-1).

The Blackhawks are coming off a drubbing they suffered from the hands of the Washington Capitals on Friday night, 6-0, where they started the game down 3-0 after one period.  They have had some rough first periods throughout the year, but not against a caliber team like Washington, and they took it to the Hawks.  The Blackhawks better be ready for Minnesota, who have the 2nd bet goal differential in the league (+44), Blackhawks, (+11) and have given up the least amount of goals in the league (86), Blackhawks (113).

The Blackhawks may be without their point leading center, Artem Anisimov, who did not attend practice Saturday due to an illness.  To account for his possible scratch for Sunday's game, the Blackhawks have recalled Nick Schmaltz from their AHL affiliate, Rockford Icehogs.

Coach Quenneville today, announced that Marcus Kruger, who has been on injured reserve since December 31st with an upper-body injury, is not coming along as planned.  His return may be longer than the original three weeks as previously hoped.

The Wild play in Dallas against the Stars on Saturday, before coming to Chicago on Sunday.  The Hawks should take that time to think about what happened in Washington and prepare for one of the hottest teams in the NHL, and a divisional rival, that is breathing down their neck.

Corey Crawford (16-9-3, 2.47 GAA, .922 SV%) will get the start for the Hawks, as Devan Dubnyk (22-7-3, 1.77 GAA, .940 SV%) will get the nod for the Wild. 


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