After leaving Minnesota with a 4-3 overtime win, the Blackhawks take on Winnipeg tonight at the MTS Centre at 7:00 pm CST. Chicago (33-17-5) has lost all four of their meetings against Winnipeg (25-27-4) this season, failing to grab a single point in any of those games. The Blackhawks snapped an eight-game losing streak against Minnesota two nights ago, so let’s see if they’re able to end another streak against them tonight against a Jets team that 13-12-1 at home this season. The expected goalies in tonight’s game are Corey Crawford for Chicago (21-12-3, .917 SV%, 2.59 GAA, 2 SO) and Connor Hellebuyck for Winnipeg (17-13-1, .909 SV%, 2.78 GAA, 3 SO). The guys lining up in front of their net-minders tonight are as follows:
This Jets team is full of playmakers who have proven they can provide plenty of scoring, especially against Chicago. The Blackhawks need to contain Winnipeg’s deadliest players, such as big-bodied Blake Wheeler and rookie scoring-leader Patrik Laine. The Jets also have plenty of firepower on their blue-line, as guys like Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba can absolutely unload from the point. Expect Laine’s line to see plenty of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson tonight. Winnipeg is no team to scoff at Blackhawks fans, and the players certainly know it too.
Chicago has been playing much better hockey as of late, having won their last three games and looking much more well-rounded as a unit. Captain Jonathan Toews is heating up on the score sheet, and now has 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in his last 12 games. With the Toews line finally clicking, the Kane line as dangerous as ever, and plenty of nitty-gritty play on the bottom six led by Marian Hossa and Ryan Hartman, the Blackhawks’ forwards are virtually impossible to defend from top-to-bottom. If Chicago continues to disperse its scoring among its four lines against the Jets, they should have no problem when all is said and done. The Jets never go down without a fight, however, and they undoubtedly have the Blackhawks’ number this season. Should be a fun one.
Let’s Go Hawks.