For the second time in under a week the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks clash in a Central division match up, this time in the United Center, the mad house on Madison. Saturdays game had its ups and downs for both teams as all though there were times in the game where Winnipeg seemed to dominate, Chicago took control where it mattered, on the scoreboard building a 4 goal lead en route to a 5-1 win. Though the Jets outshot, out hit, and out chanced the Hawks, Chicago showed why they are a Championship team, taking the few mistakes Winnipeg made and making them pay. It will be another tightly contested Central division match up so grab a drink some food and find somewhere to sit for 2 and a half hours, you won’t want to miss this.
The Hawks come as advertised, they are defending champions for a reason, they are one of the most complete teams in the NHL. The depth is remarkable, lines 1 to 4 can all score, and all play great D. They get production from the back end, and do not allow many goals. In net, Jets fans were shown Saturday why Corey Crawford is an Olympic candidate, robbing the Jets time after time despite many good chances. In their last game the Hawks were upset by the scrappy Calgary Flames, who earned a 3-2 overtime win. The difference between this Hawks team and other teams like the Winnipeg Jets however, is that Chicago, on an obvious off night, still earned themselves a point. It is these points that make a non playoff team, a playoff team, and a 7th or 8th seed, a contender in a division.
Winnipeg finally put it all together! Tuesday night the Jets showed something fans had not seen this year, but it was the team that everyone hopes they can be consistently. Great team defense, a full 60 minutes, scoring by committee, these are characteristics that the Jets need to bring to the table everyday, and if they do they will be successful. Standing out was Mark Scheifele and the rest of the third line, Michael Frolik and Matt Halischuk. It was Scheifeles best NHL game without a doubt and his first 2 point game. The line consistently spent time in the Wings zone, getting chances, and when they were forced to play defense they stayed in position and were nearly perfect. One question coming into Wednesdays match up will be who will tend goal for the Jets. Last time these two teams met Ondrej Pavelec was chased from the net, and Al Montoya replaced him not only for the rest of the game but also for Mondays game against Detroit where he was spectacular. No matter who it is, the netminder has to be great for the Jets to have a chance.
60 Minutes: Heading into the second it was a 1-1 game the last time these teams met. The Jets stopped playing for 5 minutes and all of a sudden it was 4-1 and the game was over. Take no shifts off and this game will be tight to the final whistle.
Consistency: The Jets finally played a good game all the way through against Detroit, it is important to continue and build on it. There is no reason to be so good in one game and bad in the next as the Jets have done for over 2 years now. Be consistent and this team is a playoff team.
Hockey IQ: No poorly time penalties, no bad pinches, no turnovers. The Jets only made a few mistakes Saturday against the Hawks, but they paid for all of them.
TBD: Ondrej Pavelec (4-6-2) GAA: 2.87 SV% .909 or Al Montoya (2-1-0) GAA: 1.69 SV% .939
Corey Crawford (7-2-2) GAA: 2.23 SV% .916
Trouba WPG, (neck) out
Slater WPG, (lower body) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Stuart WPG, (hip) out
Kane WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Handzsus CHI, (upper body) day-to-day
Mills CHI, (lower body) day-to-day
Kostka CHI, (lower body) out
Jets play a great road game, Hawks still better
Blackhawks 3 Jets 2 O.T.
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