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Hawks visit Wild looking for 7th straight win

by John Kreiser

BLACKHAWKS (6-0-0) at WILD (3-2-1)


Season series: It's the first of three meetings this season, two of which will take place at the Xcel Energy Center. Each team won twice last season, but both of Minnesota's wins and one of Chicago's victories came in shootouts.

Big story: The Blackhawks have won their first six games for the first time in franchise history. They'll try to remain perfect in the opener of a six-game trip that will keep them away from the United Center until Feb. 12.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: The Hawks have already made one trip out West, and they're beginning a second that will take them more than 5,600 miles until they get back home. For coach Joel Quenneville, the key is not getting away from what's made them successful -- especially with the added importance of each game due to the 48-game schedule..

"You want to play the same way, home or away," Quenneville said.

"Every game is going to be like a playoff game, everybody is going to be excited about playing us. We find that every game we're involved in, things are like a playoff game, four-point games, a lot of swings in the standings. It's early in the season, but it's really not. We'll value each and every game."

When the Blackhawks get back to Chicago, they'll have played 10 of their first 12 games away from home.

Wild: Minnesota's big guns up front -- Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley -- have been producing, but the Wild has been missing the kind of secondary scoring that teams need to win. That's why the best news from Tuesday's 3-2 win against Columbus was that Pierre-Marc Bouchard got the winning goal in the third period -- no Minnesota forward other than the big three had scored since opening day.

"Mikko's line has been playing some solid hockey since the beginning of the season," Bouchard said after scoring his 100th NHL goal. "We need to support them and the other lines need to play better."

Bouchard was limited to just 97 games during the past three seasons due to concussions. His return to good health could be good news for the Wild -- Minnesota is 66-19-6 all-time in games Bouchard has scored a goal, including 2-0 this season.

Who's hot: Patrick Kane leads Chicago with nine points, including seven in the last five games. Goaltender Corey Crawford has won all five of his decisions, posting a 1.78 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. … Parise was held off the scoresheet on Tuesday but has four goals in his last three games and leads the Wild with nine points.

Injury report: Chicago defenseman Michal Rozsival missed Tuesday's practice with a lower-body injury. Forward Daniel Carcillo is out for another couple of weeks with a knee injury. … Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon missed Tuesday's game with a foot injury.

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