The Blackhawks host the Winnipeg Jets tonight at 7:30 CST in hopes of avenging their unenthusiastic 5-2 loss at home to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The Hawks controlled the tempo for much of the night, but completely flopped at the end of the game when they needed to be their best. This loss was as frustrating to watch as any other game this season because of how prepared the Hawks seemed to be early in the game. The infamous winter hibernation struck again, putting essentially the entire team to sleep on the ice. Time and time again, games like these cost the team two points in the standings that are more than attainable. All in all, Tuesday’s game left a sour taste in the mouths of Blackhawks players, management, and fans alike.
The good news, however, is that forward Marcus Kruger returns to the lineup today after being out since December 30th due to a wrist injury. The centerman’s ability to kill penalties and smart defensive play certainly strengthen the Hawks forward depth up the middle. With Kruger’s return, here’s what coach Joel Quenneville’s lines appear to be for tonight, which include elite backup goalie (but not really) Scott Darling:
Scott Darling (12-4-2, .928 SV%, 2.21 GAA)
The Winnipeg Jets come into tonight’s game having lost 6 of their last 8 games, though they always play the Blackhawks close. Having just gotten first-round pick Patrik Laine back in their lineup should help boost their offensive side of things. Connor Hellebuyck will man the net for the Jets tonight. Here are their expected lines:
Connor Hellebuyck (16-13-1, .907 SV%, 2.82 GAA)
Expect the Blackhawks to come out firing in the early minutes of tonight’s game. When the Madhouse on Madison comes to life, there’s no deadlier team in all of sports.
Let’s Go Hawks.
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