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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Undefeated Hawks take on Wild

Jan 30, 2013, 7:50 AM EDT

Niklas Backstrom #32 of the Minnesota Wild looks on as Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks scores during a shootout on December 14, 2011 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 4-3 in a shootout.
(December 13, 2011 - Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks will head to the Xcel Energy Center for a match against the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Many players talked about the importance of a hot start before the condensed season got underway, but the Blackhawks were one of the few teams to successfully execute. They not only managed to bank points early, they’ve come through in tight contests and have set a franchise record with their 6-0-0 start.

Everything seems to be going right for Chicago so far this season. This isn’t just a matter of its top guys contributing either. 11 Blackhawks players have already found the back of the net and 10 have at least three points this season. Among those that don’t are blueliners Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson, who have instead chipped in by logging big minutes and doing some of the less talked about things like blocking shots.

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The Wild can match the Blackhawks blow-for-blow in terms of star power thanks to the summer additions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, but the big question is if they’re deep enough to compete with Chicago. Going into their match against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, 10 of the Wild’s 13 goals had been netted by their top line of Parise, Dany Heatley, and Mikko Koivu.

That’s one of the reasons why Minnesota was 2-2-1 at that point. However, the Wild’s secondary scorers led the way against Columbus in a 3-2 win Tuesday. If they can do the same tonight, then Chicago might suffer its first loss of the season.

Probable goaltenders: CHI – Corey Crawford (5-0-0, 1.78 GAA, .933 SV%) | MIN – Josh Harding (1-1-0, 2.56 GAA, .902 SV%)

Top scorers: CHI – atrick Kane (2-7-9, 6 GP) | MIN – Parise (5-4-9, 6 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Chicago – Forwards: Daniel Carcillo (knee) Defensemen: Michal Rozsival (lower body), Steve Montador (concussion)
Minnesota – Defensemen: Jared Spurgeon (foot)

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