The Chicago Blackhawks are in Manitoba on Sunday for a meeting with the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Place. The stakes continue to rise for the Blackhawks and Jets as we get deeper into the season. Neither team is in a comfortable position at the moment, though the Jets are feeling better at 28-23-5 and 61 points. That would give the Jets the No. 1 wildcard in the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks are nearby, though, as they head into Sunday with a record of 25-21-8 and 58 points. Keep in mind that the Blackhawks have played two less games than the Jets thus far, so that’s working in their favour. The Jets are not the only team that the Blackhawks must be concerned with, though. There are four teams ahead of the Blackhawks before the Jets. The odds aren’t great, but the playoffs are realistically within reach.
Jeremy Colliton was on the hot seat earlier in the season, but he has since put that fire out for now. In a season that has seen a plethora of head coaches getting hired, Colliton had to be at least a little concerned about his job. However, the Blackhawks have been showing some grit recently, as they have jumped into the playoff race thanks to a recent five-game winning streak. That said, the Blackhawks have gone 1-3 since winning five straight games, though they did force overtime in two of those games to pick up a couple of points.
Winnipeg has picked up some recent momentum following wins against the Blues twice and Senators yesterday afternoon. Beating the Blues is no easy task, and the Jets were able to accomplish it twice in five days. It was certainly needed after the Jets went on a five-game losing skid. They were also losers in seven of eight games, so bouncing back was imperative in Winnipeg.
That will have to continue for the Jets. Plenty of pressure will be on Connor Hellebuyck to hold up in the crease down the stretch. This hasn’t been his season, but he can make up for it if he gets hot and the Jets go to the playoffs. Patrik Laine who is fresh off a hat trick against the Senators, and four goals in his last two games, could be the catalyst to get the Jets into the playoffs, though. When he’s hot, this team looks a whole lot different on the ice. It wasn’t the case earlier in the season, but Laine is heating up now. Head below for our free Blackhawks vs. Jets pick.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Winnipeg Jets Betting Odds:
Blackhawks vs. Jets Prediction:
The Jets have ample talent on their team to reach the playoffs and do some damage. There is a lot of talent on this roster that hasn’t reached its full potential in 2019-20. Maybe that never happens, but if they do get hot at the right time, which has to happen just about now, I wouldn’t want to be a high seed having to deal with Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, and Mark Scheifele in the first-round.
That’s not even really fair for a team that worked hard all season to get a top seed in the Western Conference. By that point, the Jets hope to have a healthy blueline back in order with Carl Dahlstrom and Tucker Poolman. Poolman is expected back soon, though Dahlstrom is out for at least six weeks.
Laine has to get hot and that’s most certainly been the case recently. Along with four goals in his last two games, Laine also has eight games in his last eight outings. That’s not what the rest of the Western Conference who are trying to get into the playoffs want to see. They’re well aware that the Jets are significantly more dangerous when Laine is on fire.
Dating back to April of 2018, the Jets’ offence has had a lot of success against the Blackhawks. They’ve scored at least 4 goals in five of eight games, and at least 3 goals in seven out of their last ten meetings versus the Blackhawks. The Jets saved Hellebuyck for Sunday and gave the backup, Laurent Brossoit, the nod against the Senators on Saturday.
Hellebuyck goes into Sunday with a 2.69 GAA and 0.92 save percentage, and has been feeling it recently with 2 goals yielded in each of his last three outings. Hellebuyck has been solid against the Blackhawks in the past, having posted a 2.54 GAA in 15 games. Winnipeg hasn’t been a destination that the Blackhawks have cared to travel to. They’ve won just a game in their previous five trips to MTS Place.
The Blackhawks will have had plenty of rest going into Winnipeg. They haven’t played since a 2-1 loss against the Bruins on Wednesday. However, Chicago has gone just 3-2-1 when they have rested for more than three days, so it hasn’t benefited them too much. The Jets playing on a back-to-back with momentum actually might help them here as opposed to a Hawks team that could be rusty. It should be a tightly contested matchup on Sunday, but expect the Jets to have the upper-hand as they ride a wave of confidence at home in this one.