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

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ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 11: Henri Jokiharju #28 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck in front of Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks as Charlie Coyle #3 of the Minnesota Wild defends during a game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Black Hawks at Xcel Energy Center on October 11, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Black Hawks 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 11: Henri Jokiharju #28 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck in front of Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks as Charlie Coyle #3 of the Minnesota Wild defends during a game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Black Hawks at Xcel Energy Center on October 11, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Black Hawks 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Minnesota Wild for the second time this season. Here’s what to watch and what to know ahead of this evening’s game.

The Chicago Blackhawks will take on the Minnesota Wild on Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the United Center. The game will be on WGN and NHL Network for TV and WGN for Radio at 5 pm central. This is the second out of four matchups against the Wild.

Prior to the game, the Blackhawks will hold a Purple Carpet event to honor fans battling cancer, have lost someone to cancer and those who are in remission. Former ‘Hawks Adam Burish and Eddie Olczyk will host the event.

During warmups, the home team will wear lavender jerseys that will be autographed and auctioned off online. All proceeds benefit local cancer organizations through the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. The Blackhawks will honor color analyst Eddie Olczyk with “One More Shift,” almost eight months after he announced his remission from colon cancer.

Here’s how the Blackhawks’ lines will look this evening:

Offense

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

Defense

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

Crawford is the predicted to be in the net.

In their last game, the Wild defeated the Blackhawks in overtime after Chicago gave up two leads. Minnesota is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in which they blew a 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

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Against the Kings, Brandon Saad picked up his fifth goal of the season. Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots and raised his save percentage to .916. He is 4-6-1 this season and despite his record, he’s looked as good as someone can look when coming off a long absence due to injury.

Head coach Jeremy Colliton rewarded Saad’s strong play as of late, moving him onto the first line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Nick Schmaltz moved to the second line but had a strong game Friday night that showed promise. He recorded three shots on goal and won 67 percent of his faceoffs. Schmaltz was all over the ice in the third period and that’s what the Blackhawks want to see from him all the time.

In his second game back, Gustav Forsling collected an assist on Saad’s game-tying goal. With how bad the defense has been this season, the Blackhawks need Forsling to take on a pretty big role of being a top-four defenseman. Connor Murphy has been recently practicing with Chicago, which is also a good sign.

Sitting second in the Central Division, the Wild have had a great start to the season. They have 10 players with 10 or more points and Devan Dubnyk has been steady in net. All of the top guys for Minnesota have been producing, most notably Zach Parise, who is second on the team in goals (8) and points (17).

There’s no doubt this will be a tough battle for the Blackhawks. With their recent improvement in play, it’s possible they can hang with the Wild in this game. Chicago needs to solidify their defense early on and not take dumb penalties. This may be a game that comes down to special teams in the end.

If you’re a betting person, Odds Shark says the Minnesota Wild will win by a large margin, 3.6-1.8. The total will go under and the moneyline also favors Minnesota, as Chicago is listed -125 and the Wild are listed +105.

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While I did not succeed with my prediction last time, I came kind of close. For this matchup, I predict the Wild will defeat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime. Alex DeBrincat will score a goal.

Follow along with live updates from tonight’s game on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up!

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