Hawks waking up in Winnipeg

In just a matter of a little more than 24hrs the Blackhawks went from being the number three seed in the West to number five seed in the western conference and are now in a wild card spot. The Minnesota Wild took their third spot with a win over the Los Angeles Kings yesterday and leap frogged the idol Hawks. The Hawks can return the favor tonight in Winnipeg with a win in regulation.

The Hawks find themselves now only four points ahead of these Winnipeg Jets in the wild card spots as well. The Hawks do have games in hand over both Minnesota and Winnipeg, but what should be a wakeup call to the Hawks is not the points or the standings and where they find themselves but their play as of late. Needless to say it is not how you want to be going into the playoffs, if in fact you even get there.

What maybe more concerning is even captain Jonathan Toews said they have to bring desperation, which means either they have not been, and if so why not, or what is more scary they have been and it just isn’t translating on the ice. The former is probably true. The Hawks cannot seem to string together a solid 60 minutes all season long, but they will need to bring their A game Sunday in Winnipeg.

A win in Winnipeg could go a long way not only for the standings implications, but let’s face the Jets have owned the Hawks all season long. It would be a tremendous confidence and ego builder to hand the Jets a loss in their final meeting of the regular season. Why not put some doubt in their minds if you have to face them at some point  down the road in the playoffs.

The Hawks need to tighten up in their own zone and wait for offensive opportunities and not get caught with odd man rushes which are what has been happening to them of late. This to me smells a little desperate with inappropriate pinching of dmen and being out of position and leaving your goaltenders hung out to dry.  If the Hawks regain their solid defensive game from everyone on the ice they should be fine. Their own zone turnovers have to stop otherwise this will be over quickly.

Winnipeg would love nothing better than to gain ground on the Hawks and win all but one of their contests this year. I wouldn’t say this is a must win game for the Hawks as there is still plenty of games left but the team that wins this game will certainly be helping themselves, hopefully the team in the red, black and white will be the one to respond.

Who to look out for:

The Winnipeg Jets leading scorers and point getters are Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler. Bryan Little is also a key contributor but is currently out of the lineup with injury. They have gone through significant amount injuries but somehow the team seems to find a way to press on.

For the Hawks since the sidelining of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews has picked up the slack followed by Brandon Saad and   Marian Hossa right behind in goals for total points Hossa is still ahead of Saad. Also a shout of to Andrew Shaw who has picked up his game and took a beating in the game against the Blue Jackets.

INJURY REPORT

Blackhawks

Trevor Van Riemsdyk is still reconditioning in Rockford

Joakim Norstrom is on a day to day basis with lower body injury.

Patrick Kane is on LTIR with clavicle injury

Daniel Carcillo is out with upper body day to day

Jets

Bryan Little–  out with upper body day to day

Paul Postma  - out with lower body week to week

Ben Chiarot -  is on inactive list with hand injury scheduled back early April

Grant Clitsome -  is on inactive list with back indefinitely

 

Where to watch: WGN or listen on WGN radio 720 in chicago at 6:30 pm Central time