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Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild: What to Watch and What to Know

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ST. PAUL, MN - FEBRUARY 10: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild skate to the puck during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 10, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - FEBRUARY 10: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild skate to the puck during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 10, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Minnesota Wild for the first time this season. Here’s what to watch and what to know ahead of tonight’s matchup.

First things first, the game is being broadcast on WGN for both TV and radio at 7:00 p.m. central. Chicago is taking a one game trip up to Minnesota for this one before returning to the United Center for their second matchup of the season with the St. Louis Blues.

Here’s how the Chicago Blackhawks lines shape up this evening.

Offense:

  1. DeBrincat-Toews-Kahun
  2. Saad-Schmaltz-Kane
  3. Kunitz-Anisimov-Fortin
  4. Hayden-Kruger-Kampf

Defense

  1. Keith-Jokiharju
  2. Gustafsson-Seabrook
  3. Manning-Rutta

Ward is starting in net.

Looking at these, the top-six clearly still sticks out after their red-hot start. The Chicago Blackhawks offense has scored 15 goals to start the season and nine of them have come from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Look for one of them to light the lamp again tonight.

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Additionally, Alexandre Fortin (84) is making his NHL debut this evening and he’s undoubtedly looking to tally his first NHL point. Watch to see how he fares in his first big-league game.

Defensively, Brent Seabrook is now paired with Erik Gustafsson which I think is the right move for him at this point. I’d like to see Seabrook’s minutes decreased on the penalty kill and increased on the power play, but that remains to be seen.

All in all, this should be an interesting game. Chicago has given up 14 goals so far this year, however Minnesota has only scored twice through two games.

On one hand, this is encouraging as it’s a good chance for the Chicago Blackhawks defense and goaltending to gain some confidence, but it also sets them up for a major potential let down.

If you’re a betting person, the Chicago Blackhawks are predicted to be just over one goal favorites by Odds Shark, 3.4 – 2.2. That said, the money line favors Minnesota in this one as the Chicago Blackhawks are listed -195 and the Wild are at +155.

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Personally I think the predictions are more accurate here than the money line. I’m a consistently overly optimistic Blackhawks fan, so I’m going to say tonight’s game ends 4-2, Blackhawks, with at least one goal from the first line.

Follow along on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up for updates!

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