For the third time this season the Jets and Hawks will clash Thursday night at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. The Hawks have taken both meetings by a combined score of 9-2, and for the most part have dominated the Jets. The mix of speed, skill, grit, and experience have proved to much for the young Jets club that has attempted to keep up with the defending Stanley Cup champions. These games have at times however brought out the best in the Winnipeg team and if they put it all together they could be dangerous for the Blackhawks, especially in their home building. The third of 5 inter divisional match ups for these teams comes Thursday, do not miss it.
There is not much to say about the Chicago Blackhawks, they won the cup last season for a reason, they are strong from top to bottom. From Corey Crawford in net, all the way out to Jonathan Toews up front this team is built solid. Weaknesses are hard to find and mistakes tough to come by. Chicago is a finely tuned winning machine, with only 4 regulation losses on their record all season. All that being said if there was a time to beat them it is now. The Hawks have lost two of their last three and were outscored 12-3 in those two games. They have also allowed 4 or more goals in 4 of their last 5. The Hawks are dealing with injuries to key players and maybe a little bit of Stanley Cup fatigue, do not expect this skid to last long, but at least for now the Hawks may be slightly vulnerable.
The Jets would probably like to erase a lot of the last game from their minds, however there were some positives. The Jets grabbed a point despite playing a very sloppy and overall poor game. They stayed in a game they had no right being in, and despite falling behind, and getting the short end on a few calls the Jets rallied and still put themselves in a spot to win. That being said if they play the same Thursday Chicago will blow them out. The Jets need to play their game. Hit hard and hit often, use your speed, and you can not turn the puck over. Winnipeg needs 60 minutes from every man, and if they can get it, they are capable of knocking off the Hawks
Manage Emotions: The Jets seemingly bore the brunt of some bad calls Monday night against Calgary and they let it get in their head. So much so that Bryan Little received a 10 minute misconduct and was not allowed to participate in the shootout. You wonder if their fate would have been different with their top scorer shooting? The Jets cannot allow calls or non calls to rattle them or the puck will be in the back of their net all night.
No mistakes: Last time the Hawks were in town the Jets saw just how quickly the game could swing. Early in the second the score was tied at 1. Just over 5 minutes, and a few Jet blunders later it was 4-1 and the game was all but over.
Gamebreakers: The Jets have only a few players that can really change the game by themselves. Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, and Ondrej Pavelec are those players and they need to be at the top of their game. If they are the Jets might just surprise a few people.
Ondrej Pavelec (8-8-2) GAA: 2.74 SV% .915
Corey Crawford (13-4-3) GAA: 2.55 SV% .905
Trouba WPG, (neck) day-to-day
Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Stuart WPG, (hip) day-to-day
Bogosian WPG, (lower body injury) out
Bickell CHI, (lower body injury) out
Khabibulin CHI, (groin) out
Hossa CHI, (lower body injury) day-to-day
Handzus CHI, (upper body injury) out
Kostka CHI, (lower body injury) out
Jets shock the champs
Jets 3 Blackhawks 2
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