NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, January 19th
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (22-19-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (25-10-8), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A knee injury has Andrew Brunette's ironman streak in
jeopardy. The forward will try to take the ice tonight when the Minnesota Wild
visit the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Brunette hasn't missed a game since December 31, 2001, when he sat out
Minnesota's game in Detroit due to a shoulder contusion. He swiftly returned
from that ailment and has played in 497 consecutive games, the longest active
streak in the NHL.
Brunette, though, suffered a right leg injury in Minnesota's 3-0 home loss to
the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. Brunette did not return to that game after
sustaining the injury in the second period, but did make the trip to Chicago.
He did skate on Sunday and is questionable for tonight's game. He has 11 goals
and 13 assists this season.
Craig Weller, though, is likely to miss his second straight game due to a head
injury suffered in a fight on Thursday versus Edmonton.
Niklas Backstrom made 31 saves versus the Ducks on Saturday and allowed three
goals in a game for the third time in his last four outings. He is 2-2-0 with
a 2.02 goals against average in his career versus Chicago.
The Wild, who had a two-game win streak halted, is just 9-11-0 on the road
this year and have lost eight of their last 10 as the visiting club. Minnesota
is tied with Chicago for last in the Northwest Division with 47 points, two
back of third-place Edmonton.
The Blackhawks have won three of their last four and are 10 points behind
first-place Detroit in the Central Division. Chicago plays the first of two
straight at the United Center and is 14-2-5 there, having notched a point in
four straight home games (3-0-1).
Chicago was in St. Louis on Saturday and left town with a 2-1 overtime
victory. Martin Havlat netted the game-winner just 1:23 into OT, grabbing a
rebound off a Brent Seabrook shot before converting a wrap around chance.
Troy Brouwer netted the other goal while Cristobal Huet stopped 27 shots in
the win for the Blackhawks. Duncan Keith missed his second straight contest
due to a head injury and is questionable for tonight.
Nikolai Khabibulin should start in net tonight if Chicago continues its trend
of alternating goaltenders. Khabibulin is just 3-6-2 with a 2.35 GAA versus
the Wild, but has yet to lose at home in regulation this year. He is 7-0-4
with a 1.92 GAA in 12 games (11 starts) at the United Center this season.
The Blackhawks and Wild have split two contests so far this year, with both
taking place in Minnesota. The Wild have won 10 of the last 13 meetings in the
series, though, and five of their last seven in the Windy City.
01/19 10:44:42 ET