The Chicago Blackhawks will hope to keep their strong start to the season alive as they take on the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. 

The Blackhawks have picked up seven of a possible eight points in their first four games of the season, including wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens. 

A big part of the reason behind their success has been the dynamic play of a couple of rookies, including defenseman Jan Rutta. Rutta has already scored a pair of goals for the Blackhawks, including a tally against the Maple Leafs on Monday night. 

He has also been stellar defensively for the Blackhawks, even as Joel Quenneville plays him between 19 and 20 minutes per night in his rookie season with the team. 

Another key rookie has been winger Alex DeBrincat, who showed off his incredible wrist shot on Tuesday as he scored his first career NHL goal against the Montreal Canadiens. 

DeBrincat also added an assist in the game, as he continued his strong start to his career. He has been dynamic on offense, creating space with his speed and quick thinking with the puck, and his ability to shoot quickly even in a confined area has to scare teams who are going to have a tough time closing out on him in the slot. 

Here is the Blackhawks’ lineup against Minnesota: 

Saad – Toews – Panik 

Hartman – Anisimov – Kane

Sharp – Kero – DeBrincat

Bouma – Wingels – Hayden 

The Key: 

As the Blackhawks play their first divisional game of the season, they are going to need to continue the strong play that they have shown on their penalty killing unit. 

As a team, the Blackhawks have killed off 86.7 percent of their penalties so far this season, thanks in large part to the tremendous play of Tanner Kero in that department. The young center has filled the gap left by Marcus Kruger on the penalty kill, and his aggressiveness has served him well as he’s prevented teams from setting up shop in the offensive zone. 

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago. 

Published 53 minutes ago

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