Game Preview: Minnesota Wild @ Chicago Blackhawks
Today the Chicago Blackhawks will have a quick turnaround after a 4-3 OT loss last night in Buffalo. The Minnesota Wild come to the UC at 6pm to take on the Hawks. After a tough 0-3 start (against great competition) the Wild have rebounded nicely and are 3-1-1 in their last 5 games.
Minnesota has one of my favorite non-Blackhawk players in the entire world: Kirill Kaprizov. There is little on the ice that Kirill the Thrill can't do. Coming off a Hart Trophy caliber 108 point season, Kaprizov has 6 goals and 5 assists in just 8 games so far this season.
If former Blackhawk Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start tonight then it will be interesting to see his play against his former team. Fleury started the year in rough fashion and was even pulled in a game against the Kings. His last 2 starts however have been more true to form with only 3 goals allowed over the 2 matchups and saving 53 of 56 shots (.946 save %).
The Hawks know this team well, already having played prospect matchups and pre-season tilts. I would even venture to say tonight's matchup could get a little bit more physical then prior games. I'm going to solely concentrate on the Kaprizov line versus the Hawks defense. This will be the most important matchup of the game.
Being in the same division as well as playing eachother in many exhibition games, I expect a tough physical low scoring game. The Wild come to town with 7pts to the Hawks 9 as well, so a regulation Wild win could mean a tie in the standings. Should be a good early season division contest!