Niklas Backstrom #32 of the Minnesota Wild looks on as Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks scores during a shootout on December 14, 2011 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 4-3 in a shootout.
(December 13, 2011 - Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America)

Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Undefeated Hawks take on Wild


Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks will head to the Xcel Energy Center for a match against the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Many players talked about the importance of a hot start before the condensed season got underway, but the Blackhawks were one of the few teams to successfully execute. They not only managed to bank points early, they’ve come through in tight contests and have set a franchise record with their 6-0-0 start.

Everything seems to be going right for Chicago so far this season. This isn’t just a matter of its top guys contributing either. 11 Blackhawks players have already found the back of the net and 10 have at least three points this season. Among those that don’t are blueliners Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson, who have instead chipped in by logging big minutes and doing some of the less talked about things like blocking shots.

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The Wild can match the Blackhawks blow-for-blow in terms of star power thanks to the summer additions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, but the big question is if they’re deep enough to compete with Chicago. Going into their match against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, 10 of the Wild’s 13 goals had been netted by their top line of Parise, Dany Heatley, and Mikko Koivu.

That’s one of the reasons why Minnesota was 2-2-1 at that point. However, the Wild’s secondary scorers led the way against Columbus in a 3-2 win Tuesday. If they can do the same tonight, then Chicago might suffer its first loss of the season.

Probable goaltenders: CHI – Corey Crawford (5-0-0, 1.78 GAA, .933 SV%) | MIN – Josh Harding (1-1-0, 2.56 GAA, .902 SV%)

Top scorers: CHI – atrick Kane (2-7-9, 6 GP) | MIN – Parise (5-4-9, 6 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Chicago – Forwards: Daniel Carcillo (knee) Defensemen: Michal Rozsival (lower body), Steve Montador (concussion)
Minnesota – Defensemen: Jared Spurgeon (foot)

Video: Pekka Rinne’s zero-margin-of-error stick save

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Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.

Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.

You can also see it up close via this GIF:

Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:

At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.

Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

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Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

Joffrey Lupul
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Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as notes.

“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks