Preview: Wild (11-7) at Blackhawks (13-8)
Date: December 01, 2015 8:00 PM EDT
As many days as it’s been since the Chicago Blackhawks’ last home game, the interval still can’t match Patrick Kane’s historic point streak.
Kane looks to extend his run to 20 games when the Blackhawks take the ice at United Center for the first time in 16 days Tuesday night against the slumping Minnesota Wild.
Chicago (13-8-3) returns home after going 3-1-2 on a season-high six-game trip during which Kane set an NHL record for U.S.-born players for consecutive games with a point. The star wing had a power-play goal and an assist in Saturday’s finale in Los Angeles, but the Blackhawks couldn’t hold a two-goal lead through two periods in a 3-2 overtime loss.
Kane eclipsed the mark shared by Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel and is two games shy of matching Hall of Famer Bobby Hull’s franchise record set in 1971-72.
“Two great players, two great careers, and it’s fun to be there with them,” Kane said. “It was pretty exciting when it happened, and it looked like it was going to be a fun night there. But it’s kind of overshadowed by the loss.’
Kane, who has tallied 31 of his league-leading 37 points during the streak, brings another impressive stretch into Tuesday. He’s amassed nine goals and 16 assists in collecting points in 13 straight home games dating back to last season’s Stanley Cup Final.
Kane also has had plenty of recent success against Minnesota (11-7-4), accumulating eight goals and nine assists over the last 11 meetings, including the postseason. Five of those goals came during Chicago’s four-game sweep in the 2015 Western Conference semifinals.
He faces a Wild team that’s been struggling defensively, having surrendered 21 goals over a 1-4-2 stretch. Minnesota allowed three third-period scores to blow a 3-0 lead in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas that increased its skid to three games.
“We were far more concerned with getting the fourth (goal) and who’s going to get it and, ‘I want my goal,’ than we were about making sure we didn’t give up the next one,” coach Mike Yeo told the NHL’s official website.
Injuries also have played a part in the Wild’s slump, though they’re slowly getting healthier. Zach Parise has played the last two games after missing eight with a knee injury and forward Justin Fontaine returned from an 11-game absence to record an assist against Dallas. Defenseman Marco Scandella is close to being ready after missing five games with a lower-body issue.
Minnesota hasn’t lost four straight in the regular season since the Jan. 14 acquisition of Devan Dubnyk that triggered last season’s second-half turnaround. The goaltender hasn’t been in top form of late, permitting three or more goals five times while losing five of six starts.
Dubnyk stopped 25 shots in a 5-4 home win over Chicago on Oct. 30, the Wild’s third straight against the Blackhawks in the regular season. However, they’re 1-7-1 including playoffs in their last nine trips to United Center, where Chicago has gone 8-2-1 this season.
Corey Crawford, who did not play in the October matchup, stopped 50 of 54 shots in consecutive wins at San Jose and Anaheim on Chicago’s road trip. Counting the playoff series, he went 6-2-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average in eight 2014-15 starts against Minnesota.