Series (Game 1 of 4)

Chicago leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, October 26th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 5th
Game 3: Saturday, January 9th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 31st

Wild 1

(3-8-0, 6 pts)

Blackhawks 3

(7-3-1, 15 pts)

Coverage: NBCSN

8:00 PM ET, October 26, 2009

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
MIN 0 0 11
CHI 2 0 13

D. Bolland (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Keith (Blackhawks - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

C. Huet (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: .952

Wild-Blackhawks Preview


Things didn't end well with the Chicago Blackhawks for Martin Havlat. His beginning with the Minnesota Wild hasn't been too good, either.

It's unknown what kind of reception Havlat will receive Monday night in his return to Chicago as the Wild go for their first road victory and first winning streak of the season.

Havlat was the Blackhawks' leading scorer in two of his three seasons with the team and had a career-high 77 points during their breakthrough 2008-09 campaign. After failing to negotiate an extension for months, Chicago offered the popular Havlat only a one-year deal, and he signed a six-year contract worth $30 million with Minnesota on July 1.

Havlat also took some shots at his former team following Dale Tallon's demotion from general manager to senior advisor two weeks later.

"The story is starting to come out, but it's just the tip of the iceberg," Havlat posted on Twitter. "Just so everyone begins to understand, Dale was like a 2nd father to me."

He also reportedly said his contract negotiation was, "not between Dale and my agent," and added, "It was between Dale and (team president) John McDonough. Why? Because McDonough couldn't stand that Dale was so successful and getting credit for building the Hawks from a last-place team.

"McDonough knew long ago he was going to fire Dale. ... He wanted to stand up at the convention and claim credit for signing this guy or that guy."

Havlat hasn't gotten off to a strong start and neither have the Wild (3-7-0). The right winger has one goal and four assists, going pointless in the last five games.

Havlat also missed two contests because of an ailing groin, but Minnesota benefited from the unexpected return of Cal Clutterbuck from a high ankle sprain in its previous game.

Expected to miss two months, Clutterbuck was back from a five-game absence Saturday night and scored in overtime of a 3-2 victory over visiting Carolina. The Wild also activated right winger Petr Sykora off injured reserve before improving to 3-0-0 at home.

However, they are a league-worst 0-7-0 on the road. They'll try to avoid a franchise-record eighth straight road loss by improving to 7-1-0 at the United Center since Jan. 22, 2006. Minnesota has won 17 of the last 22 meetings overall, including three of four last season.

The Blackhawks (5-3-1), meanwhile, were without captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Brent Seabrook as they beat visiting Nashville 2-0 on Saturday. Toews and Seabrook are believed to have concussion-like symptoms, and whether they'll play Monday is uncertain.

"They're two big parts of our team," forward Andrew Ladd said. "You can't replace them, but you can try to fill the holes."

In one of his final home appearances with Chicago, Havlat suffered a concussion after a vicious hit from Detroit's Niklas Kronwall in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. He returned to play eight minutes the following game and missed the series finale.

Cristobal Huet earned the victory in Game 3, and took a step toward ending his early season struggles with his 21st career shutout Friday. Huet is 2-2-1 with one tie and a 2.14 goals-against average all-time against Minnesota.

Minnesota's expected starter, Niklas Backstrom, earned a win in his only game at the United Center on Jan. 19 and is 3-2-0 with a 1.81 GAA all-time against the Blackhawks.