It has not been a quiet 48 hours in Winnipeg with the controversial news regarding forward Evander Kane, more on that in a bit. But tonight the Jets are back in action for a big divisional matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks for the fourth time this season. The Jets will be looking to snap a five-game losing skid at the MTS Centre.
Winnipeg (26-18-9) and Chicago (31-18-2) have met three times this season in Chicago, with the Jets winning all three games and outscoring the Blackhawks 10-3. The Blackhawks will take on the Jets in Winnipeg for the first time this season and the Jets have a current home record of 12-10-3, while the Blackhawks are 15-11-1 on the road.
Like noted above, the Jets would love to snap this five-game losing skid they have their selves in right now, as they can’t afford to keep sliding down the Western Conference standings with teams like Calgary, San Jose, and Vancouver all in a tight race for a playoff position. The Jets and Canucks currently hold the two Wild Card positions with Winnipeg holding a two point lead with 61 points for the first Wild Card spot. A win tonight will give the Jets 63 points on the season, good enough for sixth in the West.
Lines provided by DailyFaceoff.com
Evander Kane has been placed on the Injured Reserve retroactive to February 2nd and the Jets have recalled forward Patrice Cormier from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. As you all probably know by now, there has been some significant drama out of Winnipeg regarding Kane the past few days. Many believe his time with the Jets is coming to an end.
Reports came out yesterday that Kane did not show up to Tuesday’s game in Vancouver after an incident with teammates that morning. It’s a pretty ugly situation between the Jets and Kane and you can read more about it here and here.
With Cormier up now, we may see Dustin Byfuglien back on the blueline, where he belongs. Byfuglien was put up front on Tuesday with Kane scratched and Adam Pardy filled the hole on defence for his first game since January 8th against. I will update when the official lineups become available after the Jets morning skate.
Ondrej Pavelec played on Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Canucks, where he made 30 saves on 33 shots faced. You can expect to see rookie Michael Hutchinson between the pipes tonight.
Patrick Kane currently leads the Blackhawks in points with 56 (25 goals, 31 assists) in 51 games played, while captain Jonathan Toews is just behind Kane with 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in the 51 games played. Winger Kris Versteeg will make the trip to Winnipeg but he will not play, according to reports. Versteeg has not played since the Winter Classic on January 1st, after taking a puck to the hand.
Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith did not participate in the Blackhawks practice on Thursday because he needed some rest, according to head coach Joel Quenneville following the skate. Keith has notched 30 points in 50 games this season.
Expect to see Corey Crawford in goal tonight for the Blackhawks. Crawford has played 33 games for Chicago this season where he has went 19-12-2, 2.30 GAA and .920 SV%.
Game Day Predictions: The Jets have won the past three meetings this season, but I think we will see the Blackhawks take this game by a score of 4-2.
Obvious Predictions: The Jets top line of Ladd – Little – Wheeler will lead the charge offensively tonight, while P. Kane will find the score sheet.
Not So Obvious Predictions: Both home and away broadcasts will have some sizzling takes about E. Kane throughout the game.
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