(SportsNetwork.com) – The Chicago Blackhawks will try to get another winning
streak started on Tuesday night as they take on the rival Minnesota Wild for
the first time this season.
The Blackhawks had a season-high eight-game winning streak snapped with a road
loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday, but bounced right back the
following day with a 2-1 win over the visiting Calgary Flames.
Chicago took advantage of a Calgary miscue to score the winning goal with 7:03
to play in the third period. The Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau fell down and lost
control of the puck just inside the Chicago zone, triggering a counter rush
for the Blackhawks.
Jonathan Toews then dished to Brandon Saad, who scored glove side on the
“It was perfect,” Saad said of Toews’ pass. “It was a great play.”
Toews also assisted on Patrick Sharp’s goal, while Antti Raanta made 23 saves.
Raanta played for the first time since Dec. 5 as rookie Scott Darling had
started each of Chicago’s previous four games. The two have been manning the
crease with No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford out with a lower-body injury.
Raanta lost the only time he faced the Wild, giving up two goals on 19 shots,
while the rookie Darling has never faced them.
Minnesota looks to finish off a three-game road trip with another win, having
bested the Arizona Coyotes in a shootout on Saturday after losing the opener
of the swing in San Jose last Thursday.
Zach Parise scored a game-tying goal on the power play with 5:53 left in
regulation on Saturday, then scored in the shootout along with Mikko Koivu for
a 4-3 win.
“I thought that our guys, not only the urgency, the way that we executed and I
thought it was a good job,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker also scored and Niklas Backstrom made 26
saves for the Wild, who are looking to win consecutive games for the first
time since a four-game run from Nov 13-20.
They have split their past 11 games.
Minnesota was without defenseman Jared Spurgeon on Saturday due to illness. He
did not practice on Monday nor did he travel with the team to Chicago, while
fellow blueliner Keith Ballard remains out with a concussion and facial
fractures suffered last Tuesday.
Defenseman Marco Scandella, though, is eligible to return from a two-game
suspension handed down following an illegal hit versus the New York Islanders
a week ago.
Minnesota returns home to face Boston on Wednesday, so Backstrom and Darcy
Kuemper could both see action over the next two nights.
Kuemper is 1-0-0 with a 1.22 goals against average and .959 save percentage in
two games (1 start) versus the Blackhawks, while Backstrom is 6-9-1 with a
2.82 GAA and .913 save percentage against them.
This is the first of five meetings between the Wild and Blackhawks this
season. Minnesota went 3-1-1 versus Chicago in 2013-14.