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Red-hot Hawks head to Minnesota

by Brian Compton
BLACKHAWKS (33-23-6) at WILD (33-23-6)

TV: Versus, TSN2.

Last 10: Chicago 6-2-2; Minnesota 6-3-1.

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Chicago has won two of the first three showdowns, including a 3-1 victory on Feb. 16 at the United Center.

Big Story: The defending Stanley Cup champs are on a roll.

Chicago enters Monday's action riding a four-game winning streak after it edged Phoenix in a shootout in the Windy City on Sunday. While they're still on the outside of the race to the postseason, the Blackhawks are now just two points behind No. 5 Los Angeles.

"We just all understand the situation and we're battling more," said Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith, who played 30:33 against the Coyotes. "We need those points and it shows in how we're playing. I still think there's more there and another level we can get to, but the games go by here and we've tried to get points out of games – and we've been doing that. We've got to keep doing that."

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: It was a matter of "Follow The Leader" on Sunday, as Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored a pair of goals during regulation and then added the lone  tally in the shootout to lead Chicago to its fourth straight win. 

"We knew we didn't play our best hockey in the second, but we knew it just came down to the last 20 (minutes) and finding a way to win," Toews said. "Whether it's in the third, overtime or the shootout, we're always confident we have enough to win those games."

Wild: Minnesota hopes to make it two in a row Monday night after it earned a 3-2 overtime victory against Anaheim on Friday at the Honda Center. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on the second breakaway with 6.3 seconds on the clock, while Jose Theodore made 19 of his 46 saves in the second period.

"We played a pretty good game," Bouchard said. "We showed a lot of character, so it's a big two points. We're missing a lot of key guys in the lineup, but I think we are playing our best hockey right now. Guys are stepping up their game, and that's what we need from everybody."

Who's Hot: With his two goals Sunday, Toews extended his point streak to five games. He leads Chicago with 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists). … Martin Havlat has points in four of his last five games for Minnesota.

Injury Report: Blackhawks defenseman Jordan Hendry suffered a lower-body injury on Sunday night and likely won't play Monday. … Wild center Mikko Koivu is out three weeks due to a broken finger. Guillaume Latendresse (groin), James Sheppard (knee) and Josh Harding (ACL/MCL) are also out. Cam Barker (upper body) and Cody Almond (lower body) are day-to-day.

Stat Pack: Chicago is 6-1-2 in its last nine games, while Minnesota is 16-8-1 in its last 25 contests.

Puck Drop: "We're not really worried about a run or a streak right now. We've got a long week ahead of us, so we're not looking too far ahead." -- Chicago captain Jonathan Toews
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