CHICAGO – After a successful 2-0-1 homestand, the Wild will wrap up its work week by starting another road trip – this one a three-game trek that begins Sunday in Chicago for a Central Division clash against the Blackhawks.
“Now we want to take this momentum on the road,” center Eric Staal said.
Before taking off for Chicago, the Wild dispatched the Flyers 4-1 Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center – a win that improved the team to 10-1-4 in its last 15 games. The Wild’s 24 points since Nov.14 rank first in the NHL.
A chunk of that run has come on the road, with the Wild 4-1-2 in its last seven road contests, and how defensively stout the Wild was Saturday would translate well to being the visitor; the team gave up a season-low 18 shots to Philadelphia.
“Shots against were great,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “They’re a team that always kind of tries to make an extra play in the zone, so we got lucky with that. We had good sticks. [Penalty kill], I think that was the biggest thing. Last year we had a big lull in the PK, and we were thinking it was going in that direction again unfortunately. Big play by us to keep it going and try to get that PK done and against a team like that, I mean a lot of one-timers, a lot of guys that can tip pucks like [James] van Riemsdyk. So to shut them down it was good.”
Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen is expected to start in net for the Wild, but it’s unclear if there will be other changes to the Wild’s lineup.
Center Joel Eriksson Ek left Saturday’s game after getting hit by Sean Couturier and although coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game Eriksson Ek was doing better, whether Eriksson Ek could play vs. the Blackhawks wouldn’t be determined until Sunday.
The team didn’t skate Sunday morning. Boudreau will address the media at approximately 4 p.m.
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Ryan Donato-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Victor Rask-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Carson Soucy
Brad Hunt-Brennan Menell
999: Career points for center Eric Staal.
4: Game-winning goals this season for Staal.
4: Points for center Ryan Donato in his past four outings.
1-2-1: Record for the Wild last season vs. Chicago.
6-4: Performance by the Wild in its past 10 trips to United Center.
About the Blackhawks:
Like the Wild, the Blackhawks were in action Saturday night and they fell 4-3 in St. Louis. That dropped the team to 12-15-6, and Chicago is 28th overall in the NHL with 30 points. In their last 10, the Blackhawks are 3-6-1. Winger Patrick Kane leads the team in goals (15), assists (22) and points (37). Through 49 career games against the Wild, Kane has 46 points.