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Preview: Chicago at Minnesota

When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, October 30, 2015

Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Chicago visits Minnesota on Friday in their first matchup since the Blackhawks swept the Wild in the Western Conference semifinals last season en route to their third Stanley Cup title in the last six years. Minnesota improved to 4-0-0 at home this season with a 4-3 victory over Edmonton on Wednesday, while Chicago had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 3-1 loss in Winnipeg on Thursday.

“We’re winning different ways,” coach Mike Yeo told reporters after the Wild erased a third-period deficit Wednesday with goals 43 seconds apart from defenseman Ryan Suter and Charlie Coyle. “We’re not perfect, but I think every game there’s been something different.” The Blackhawks haven’t scored a 5-on-5 goal in 235 minutes, 8 seconds – or since Artem Anisimov’s tally 4:02 into a 3-2 victory over Florida on Oct. 22. Chicago prevailed 1-0 in overtime in back-to-back contests prior to Thursday’s setback, which featured a power-play goal by Patrick Kane 1:26 into the contest. Minnesota plays its fourth game in six days, while Chicago endures back-to-back contests for the third time this season.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (6-4-0): Scott Darling (1-1-0, 2.51 goals-against average, .906 save percentage) is expected to face Minnesota for the first time after Corey Crawford made his fifth consecutive start Thursday. Coach Joel Quenneville tried to jump-start his club’s offense as Tanner Kero, who scored five goals in six games with Rockford of the American Hockey League, centered the third line in his NHL debut Thursday. Kero, though, was a minus-1 while taking four shots in 11:40 of ice time.

ABOUT THE WILD (6-2-1): Suter scored twice Wednesday – matching his goal total from last season. “I’m happy to see him get rewarded because I feel that his play has been very strong all year,” Yeo told reporters after Suter recorded the third multi-goal performance of his career. Devan Dubnyk (2.37, .902) improved to 6-2-0 following Minnesota’s 4-3 victory over Edmonton on Wednesday in his first game since an MRI on his left knee revealed “a little inflammation,” and is 4-6-0 with a 3.54 GAA and .902 save percentage in 12 contests (11 starts) versus Chicago.


1. The Wild have allowed an NHL-high 11 goals in the first period, but the Blackhawks have scored only five times in the opening session.

2. Minnesota has scored a power-play goal in two straight games and boasts a 23.3 percent success rate, while Chicago has killed 85.7 percent of its penalties.

3. Chicago is 1-1-0 in the second contest of back-to-back games, defeating the New York Islanders 4-1 on Oct. 10 and losing in Washington by the same score five days later.

PREDICTION: Wild 3, Blackhawks 2