JGD #12: Winning in the Windy City?

Winnipeg wraps up its four-game
road trip tonight as they visit the ‘Mad House’ to take on the Chicago
Blackhawks.

Both teams are playing their
second game in as many nights, but are coming off of different results. The Jets
took a 1-0 shootout victory against the Rangers, while Chicago fell 3-2 to the
Maple Leafs in Toronto.

Chicago has been a strong team
in the west this season, (as always) posting a 6-4-1 record and sitting fourth
in the very competitive Central Division. All of Chicago’s losses have been
one-goal games. The Hawks have outshot opponents 428 to 302 this year and have
averaged a league leading 38.9 shots per game.

This is going to be the first
of five meetings between Winnipeg and Chicago this season, and will be the
first of three visits to the state of Illinois for the Jets. In their first
season in the Western Conference, the Jets struggled with Chicago losing three
of four contests with the Hawks, but won the final matchup of the season in
Winnipeg.

LINES

Lines provided by Daily Faceoff

Jets Forwards

   Ladd-Little-Frolik

   Kane-Scheifele-Wheeler

   Perreault-Lowry-Byfuglien

   Galiardi-Slater-Thorburn

 

Because the Jets played last
night they will not practice before tonight’s game so it’s hard to gauge what
the lineup is going to be.

As of right now I don’t think
the lines will change much for tonight’s game, but if I were to make a change I
would like to see big Byfuglien up on the top line with Little and Ladd who have
been Winnipeg’s biggest contributors this season. Frolik would move back down
to the third line, but that could be a nice fit for him.

Evander Kane has looked great
in his first couple of games back in the lineup. He’s playing the body and
making chances on the second line. It would be great to see him earn a few
points against a tough team like Chicago.

Jets Defence

   Stuart-Trouba

   Enstrom-Bogosian

   Clitsome-Postma

 

   Pavalec

   Hutchinson

 

The defence might remain
unchanged from yesterday’s game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Adam
Pardy draw back into the lineup to bring his physical style against the Hawks.

Rookie netminder, Michael
Hutchinson may get his second game of the season. Last night Pavalec played his
best game of the season turning away 38 Rangers shots for his first shutout of
the season. It would make sense if he got the night off after a busy game in
New York.

Blackhawks Forwards

   Versteeg-Toews-Hossa

   Sharp-Shaw-Kane

   Bickell-Richards-Morin

   Saad-Kruger-Smith

 

Chicago, like the Jets will not
have a morning skate today because they flew in from Toronto. I don’t see the
line changing up for Chicago much either, they are a well-oiled machine that
has four lines that can score and most likely will.

The line of Sharp, Shaw and
Kane interests me most because that second line centre role was pegged for Brad
Richards, but Andrew Shaw’s play has made it difficult to keep him in a bottom
six role. The fact that he’s playing with a pair of Olympians doesn’t hurt his
game either.

One question I have is; why is
Brandon Saad (1g, 6a) playing on Chicago’s fourth line?

Blackhawks Defence

   Keith-Seabrook

   Hjalmarsson-Oduya

   van Riemsdyk-Rozsival

 

   Crawford

   Raanta

 

The Hawks may also play their
backup tender in today’s game, but I find it less likely than Winnipeg will
because Corey Crawford is coming off of an injury and could use a couple of
games to get back into the swing of things. But I would not be surprised if
Raanta starts either.

Defensively we might see David
Rundblad step in for Rozsival, but other than that Chicago’s defence will
remain similar to last night’s game. Including that great pairing of Duncan
Keith and Brent Seabrook.

PREDICTIONS

Game Day Prediction: Winnipeg’s four-game road trip is coming to an end tonight and
Chicago will be the most difficult foe they face on the trip. I see the tired
Jets falling to the Hawks, but they will earn another point, taking six of a
possible eight points on this road trip. Chicago wins 3-2 in overtime.

Obvious Prediction: Evander Kane nets his first goal of the season in his third
game since returning to the Jets lineup. The 23-year-old has looked great
playing on Mark Scheifele’s wing and will finally reap the benefits of his
strong play.

Not So Obvious Prediction: Winnipeg outshoots the
Hawks 32-25, becoming just the third team to outshoot Chicago this season