Blackhawks vs. Wild preview: Chicago looks to remain perfect

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago and Minnesota face off Wednesday night on NBC Sports.

The perfect Chicago Blackhawks will look to continue their impressive start to the 2013 season when they challenge the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday night.

This will be the first of three meetings between the two teams this season.

Chicago (6-0-0) enters the game tied with the San Jose Sharks for the most points in the NHL with 12. The Blackhawks are currently ranked as a top-five team in goals scored (fourth with 22) and a top-10 team in goals allowed (tied for sixth with 13).

These stats are likely bolstered by the team's success in special teams. Boasting the second-strongest penalty kill in the league (95.6 percent success rate), the Blackhawks have also managed to convert 25.9 percent of their power plays (ranked ninth).

Forwards Marian Hossa (five goals, three assists) and Patrick Kane (two goals, seven assists) have both been key contributors this season, with Hossa currently tied for the second most goals scored this season.

One of the players tied for that total is Minnesota forward Zach Parise.

Largely considered the biggest free agent on the unrestricted market this summer, Parise has lived up to the hype surrounding his homecoming. Commonly paired with captain Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley, Parise had started the year with a five game point streak, which was snapped on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Parise (five goals, four assists), Koivu (two goals, six assists) and Heatley (four goals, two assists) have scored 68 percent of Minnesota's goals entering Wednesday night.

Tom Gilbert (two goals), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (two goals) and Mikael Granlund (one goal) are the only other players on the roster to score this season.

This has led to discussions about Minnesota's top-line needing some secondary scoring help from the other groupings.

The starting goaltenders for Wednesday night are expected to be Corey Crawford for Chicago (5-0-0; .933 save percentage, 1.78 GAA) and Josh Harding for the Wild (1-1-0; .902 save percentage, 2.56 GAA).

The Wild (3-2-1) lead the Northwest Division with seven points.

The game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., ET and will be carried on NBC Sports Network as the nationally televised game of the night.

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