NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 9th
(All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (31-10-3) at Minnesota Wild (21-20-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The mighty Chicago Blackhawks will aim for a sixth straight
victory when the visit the Minnesota Wild for tonight's battle at Xcel Energy
The Blackhawks, who are leading the NHL with 65 points, have won five in a row
since a loss in Dallas on December 29 and are in the midst of their second-
longest winning streak of the season behind an eight-game stretch from
Chicago has won eight of nine and 12 of its last 14 games overall and is
23-5-1 since the start of that lengthy November hot streak.
The Blackhawks also have a solid 11-6-2 record as the guest this year and have
won four of their last five road games. Chicago began a brief, two-game swing
with Thursday's decisive victory in Boston.
Duncan Keith posted two goals and one assist to lead the Blackhawks to the 5-2
victory over the Bruins. Boston led 2-0 just over eight minutes into the game,
but the Blackhawks tied it up by the end of the first period and then scored
twice in the second stanza en route to the easy victory.
Patrick Kane, Andrew Ladd and Tomas Kopecky also provided offense for the
Blackhawks, while Antti Niemi got the win with 19 saves. Kane recorded a point
for the 10th straight game and has nine goals and seven assists during the
NHL's longest current point streak.
"I think that we have a lot of confidence," Keith said. "I think a lot of that
just comes from knowing that we have a lot of guys that can put the puck in
the net, especially our offense. I think that gives us confidence knowing that
we can score some goals if we are down some."
Blackhawks defenseman Cam Barker missed his second straight game with an
upper-body injury, but could return tonight.
The Wild are also coming into tonight off of a victory, as they ended a four-
game slide with Wednesday's win over Calgary. In Minnesota's previous game it
was handed a 4-1 setback in Chicago.
Eric Belanger netted a pair of goals in Minnesota's 4-1 decision over the
visiting Flames. Kyle Brodziak added a goal and one assist for the Wild, while
Niklas Backstrom got the win by making 25 saves.
"System-wise, I thought our guys played it pretty close to a tee and were able
to shut them down and limit their players," said Wild coach Todd Richards.
Martin Havlat added a helper in the win and has one goal and five assists
during a six-game point streak.
Tonight marks the second segment of a four-game homestand for Minnesota, which
is 13-6-1 as the host this year. The Wild will welcome Pittsburgh on Monday
before closing the residency Wednesday against Vancouver.
Marian Hossa scored twice and Cristobal Huet made 19 saves in Chicago's home
win over the Wild earlier this week. The Blackhawks have won five of eight
overall in the series, but has lost 10 out of 12 in St. Paul.
01/09 10:53:12 ET