Wild seek fresh start in first game after All-Star break


at Chicago Blackhawks, United Center, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday

TV; radio: TNT; 100.3 FM

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Pregame reading: Wild looking to reboot after All-Star break and make a push to postseason

Sarah McLellan's preview:

Opening bell: The Wild could use a fresh start, and maybe the All-Star break will be their reset. They sputtered into a 10-day recess with back-to-back losses in which they were ahead during the third period. As much as those collapses stung the Wild (21-23-5) and their playoff hopes, times have been much tougher for the last-place Blackhawks. Chicago (14-34-2) has dropped four in a row, eight of its last 10 games and 12 of the past 15.

Watch him: Wild LW Kirill Kaprizov was cruising before the break. He scored in three of his last five games and has 11 goals and 10 assists over his past 14 games played. In seven career appearances vs. the Blackhawks, Kaprizov has nine points.

Injuries: Wild D Jonas Brodin (illness), C Connor Dewar (lower body), RW Pat Maroon (upper body) and D Jared Spurgeon (hip/back). Blackhawks C Andreas Athanasiou (groin), LW Anthony Beauvillier (wrist), C Connor Bedard (fractured jaw), LW Taylor Hall (ACL) and D Connor Murphy (groin).

Forecast: This matchup is a chance for the Wild to rediscover their game after a lengthy layoff. The Blackhawks are woeful, and they're even more decimated by injury than the Wild are. But there are no slam-dunks; just look at the Wild's last loss to the lowly Ducks. To make up some ground in this playoff race, the Wild need points, and whiffing in the games they should win is a costly eyesore. They need to set a tone for their second half and bring an urgency that captures their situation.

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