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Wild go for home-and-home sweep of Blackhawks

by Brian Compton /

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


Last 10: Chicago 5-2-3; Minnesota 6-3-1

Season series: This is the second of five meetings between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild, and the second of a home-and-home series. Minnesota earned a 5-3 victory against Chicago at United Center on Saturday night.

Big story: The Central Division rivals face each other for the second time in three nights, this time at Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center. The Wild are aiming to complete the home-and-home sweep after Jason Pominville’s two-goal performance led them to a victory in the Windy City.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: Chicago got goals from Bryan Bickell, Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger, but the power play went 1-for-7 and Corey Crawford allowed five goals on 25 shots in Saturday’s loss to the Wild. The Blackhawks have allowed 11 goals in their past two games, both losses.

"We had breakdowns, we had turnovers inside our zone, we had miscommunication and took some penalties we shouldn't have taken. I think one thing relates to the other and it's just a little bit sloppy sometimes," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We've got to tighten that up and get back to playing a solid checking game that we know how to play. Our talent and ability is going to take over when the work ethic is there. It's a frustrating loss to lose like that at home."

Wild: Backed by Pominville’s two goals and a strong performance from Niklas Backstrom (36 saves), Minnesota got a small ounce of revenge after being ousted by Chicago in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Zach Parise, Kyle Brodziak and Justin Fontaine also scored for the Wild, who pulled even with Chicago in the Central Division standings at 15 points apiece.

"They're a proven team, an elite team, defending Stanley Cup champs," Pominville said. "I think they're kind of a model for a lot of teams throughout the League and to come in here and play the way we did is a great way to respond."

Who's hot: Kane has scored in back-to-back games and has four points in his past three for Chicago. Toews also has four points (two goals, two assists) in the past three games. … Pominville has three goals in the past two games for the Wild. Parise has scored in back-to-back games.

Injury report: Chicago defenseman Michael Kostka (broken foot) is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. … Minnesota is likely to be missing Josh Harding (sprained knee), Jonas Brodin (fractured cheekbone), Charlie Coyle (sprained MCL), Keith Ballard (upper body) and Mike Rupp (lower body).

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