Blackhawks looking to bounce back against the Jets

To continue their annual circus road trip, the Blackhawks (14-4-4) are visiting the Jets (10-10-3) in Winnipeg again - they were there last on November 6th, and the Jets came to visit the UC on November 9th. Both times, the Blackhawks won by a solid margin, and they will try to do so again, as they come back from a 5-1 loss in Denver.


The Blackhawks have been a little inconsistent lately. After winning 4 games in a row, they then dropped a game against Nashville with a final score of 7-2, won their next game against San Jose, and then lost again against the Avalanche.


It’s not that the players aren’t producing. Patrick Kane has at least a point in the last 8 games, Patrick Sharp had 3 points against San Jose, and Duncan Keith is ranking 10th in the league in assists. But the team has struggled with the loss of Marian Hossa and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. On Sunday, Corey Crawford let 3 goals in 7 shots before he was pulled by coach Joel Quenneville, giving Antti Raanta his first shot in the big show since he was signed during the summer.


Crawford is starting in goal against the Jets tonight, and will be looking to have a much better game, considering that Chicago has given up 21 goals in the last five games, and Crawford has a 4.21 GAA over that stretch. But the rest of the team will have up their game, too, especially after losing Bryan Bickell to a lower-body injury during the Colorado match-up.


However, they could be getting Marian Hossa back against the Jets, as per Coach Quenneville’s comments.


The Jets have been working hard this season. They managed a four-game streak that was snapped by Minnesota on Sunday, and they will be gunning to start a new one. Some of their players have been on hot streaks, as well; former Blackhawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has 5 points in the last 3 games and center Bryan Little has 6 in the past 5 games. The two of them lead the Jets in points.


Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has been strong for the team, as well, posting a 2.74 GAA and .915 SV% in 18 games played. It is probable that he’ll be getting the nod tonight.


Any game in the Jets’ arena is interesting, as their fanbase is loud and raucous, and this time won’t be any different. Jets fans have been trying to plot a ‘revenge’ on the now-famous ‘helmet incident’ that happened at the UC on November 9th, when a fan in the stands stole Adam Pardy’s helmet right from his head, after a hit from Brandon Bollig on Pardy which knocked off the protective glass. The team issued a press release when the fans’ campaign spread over the internet, refusing to acknowledge the idea, but it should still be an interesting return to Winnipeg for the Blackhawks.


Game time is 8.00 p.m. ET and  can be seen live on CSN-CH and TSN-JETS


Follow our Blackhawks writers at @TCLBlackhawks on Twitter, and you can find me at @hockeyfied.