The NHL is set up for a busy night of hockey on Tuesday. A total of ten games are up on the schedule. One of these games will be a matchup between the failing Chicago Blackhawks and the high flying Winnipeg Jets. This game will start at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.
The Blackhawks have struggled this season and it has shown. Chicago has gone 9-17-5, which has them in the last place of the NHL. The Blackhawks seven games in a row and nine of their last ten. Chicago is looking for any line to grab onto and it makes them play a little desperate. The Blackhawks came close to getting a win against Montreal at home on Sunday night, but fell short losing 3-2. Chicago will look to try and end the losing streak in Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Winnipeg has gone 18-9-2 to begin this season. The Jets are currently sitting in third place of the Central Division, which is pretty impressive. Winnipeg won their last game and has won five of their last six games though. The Jets will look to keep the strong play up with a win at home against the struggling Blackhawks team.
Tuesday night’s matchup between the Blackhawks and the Jets will be the second of four games between these two teams this season. Chicago and Winnipeg will meet again on December 14 and April 1. The Blackhawks are in desperate need of a win on Tuesday night and I believe they will have a chance to get it.
Last season, the Blackhawks and the Jets met up a total of five teams. Chicago ended up taking the season series 3-2. The Blackhawks outscored Winnipeg by a total of 16-14 in this season series. The Jets struggled against the Blackhawks on the road, losing both games in Chicago. The Blackhawks were able to steal one game on the road and I believe they have a chance to do it again on Tuesday night.
The first meeting between these two teams this season was on November 29. The Jets hosted the game and were able to put up a solid offensive performance at home to get the win. Artem Anisimov and John Hayden each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks. Nikolaj Ehlers scored a hat trick for Winnipeg, while Patrik Laine was able to find the back of the net twice. The Jets were able to pull off a high scoring win 6-5.
Chicago and Winnipeg are tied 3-3 in their last six matchups. The Blackhawks have not been a playoff team the last two seasons, while the Jets have been able to compete near the top of the NHL. I believe that this actually means something. Chicago has a solid understanding of how well the Jets play and they could use this advantage again on Tuesday night.
Chicago has seen a hit in their defensive depth due to injuries. The Blackhawks will likely be without Gustav Forsling and Brandon Davidson for Tuesday night’s game. These two players are out for a while, which hurts the bottom six defensive pairing for Chicago. The Blackhawks could also be missing Artem Anisimov, who is questionable after leaving their last game with an injury.
The Jets have avoided most injuries to this point in the season. Winnipeg has lost a couple solid depth players, but are still keeping their main core intact. The Jets will be without Andrew Copp in the forwards core and Joe Morrow back on the defensive end. Copp plays a solid physical role in the third or fourth line, which Winnipeg has missed.
Corey Crawford will likely get the start in net for Chicago on Tuesday night. For a struggling team, Crawford has played pretty solid in net. He has posted a save percentage of .901 and a 3.21 GAA. Crawford has a poor record of 5-14-1, but that is pretty reflective of the poor team play in front of him. I believe that under the spotlight, Crawford could have a good night against the Jets.
I expect Connor Hellebuyck to get the nod in net for Winnipeg. Hellebuyck has posted a record of 13-8-1 in his 23 starts this season. He has put up a .910 save percentage and a GAA of 2.80. Hellebuyck has been a solid starter in net this season, but I believe that his numbers could improve. He had a really good season last season that earned him a Vezina Trophy nomination. I believe he needs to elevate back to that level if the Jets want to continue to climb towards the top of the Central Division standings.
Crawford and Hellebuyck have both been solid pieces for their respective teams, but Hellebuyck has had the better season. The Jets have put together a better start and a large part of that is due to their defense. The Blackhawks will need to have a good defensive performance in front of Crawford if they want to pull off the upset on Tuesday night.
Chicago is coming into Tuesday night’s game on a big losing streak and I believe that they have a chance to end it against the Jets. While Winnipeg is the better team, the Blackhawks have been really solid against the Jets recently. Crawford has been a solid player as well and I believe he could compete with Hellebuyck.
BetOnline has Winnipeg listed as a -230 against the money line. This money line implies that the Jets will win this game 70 percent of the time. I believe that Winnipeg deserves to be closer to like 60 percent. Chicago has split the last six games 3-3 with them. The Blackhawks are huge underdogs and I believe there is a lot of value on them. If Chicago pulls off the upset, there is a huge payout. I am taking the Blackhawks on the road.