Preview: Blackhawks at Jets
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[April 01, 2016]
The Chicago Blackhawks begin their second stint this season
without reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Duncan Keith on Friday when
they conclude a four-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets. A
two-time Norris Trophy winner, Keith has been suspended indefinitely as
he awaits a hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety following
his use of a high stick that bloodied Minnesota's Charlie Coyle on
"He's not the whole team, but he's a big part of it," fellow
blue-liner Erik Gustafsson told CSN Chicago of Keith, who also
missed a month after having knee surgery earlier in the season.
"He's one of our best defensemen and one of the best in the league.
We just have to keep moving and just get on a winning track here,
start winning some games in a row." The Blackhawks dropped a 4-1
decision to the Wild for their seventh loss in 10 outings (3-5-2)
but still hold a four-point lead over Nashville for third place in
the Central Division. Occupying the cellar is Winnipeg, which has
dropped six of its last eight overall (2-4-2) and three of the first
four meetings with Chicago this season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, TSN3 (Winnipeg)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (44-26-7): Although coach Joel Quenneville told
the Chicago Sun-Times that he is "hopeful" Corey Crawford (upper
body) returns for the postseason, Scott Darling is expected to man
the net for the remainder of the campaign. The 27-year-old recorded
his lone shutout of the season and second career on March 18 when he
turned aside all 28 shots he faced in Chicago's 4-0 victory over
Winnipeg. Andrew Ladd, who has three goals and an assist in his last
three games, scored in that contest in his first appearance at MTS
Centre since the former Jets captain was traded to the Blackhawks on
Feb. 25 in a multi-player deal.
ABOUT THE JETS (31-39-7): Former Blackhawks defenseman Dustin
Byfuglien lowered the boom on Winnipeg native Mark Stone with a
physical - yet clean - open-ice hit as the Jets opened their final
homestand of the season with a 2-1 loss to Ottawa on Wednesday.
"That was a big hit. That was probably the biggest hit I've ever
seen in person," goaltender Michael Hutchinson told the team's
website. "That definitely gave us some momentum." Mark Scheifele
scored his team-leading 26th goal for his seventh point (three
goals, four assists) in five games and also tallied in Winnipeg's
3-1 victory over Chicago on Oct. 29.
[to top of second column]
1. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews has recorded 17 points (seven
goals, 10 assists) in 18 career encounters versus his hometown team.
2. The Jets are 1-for-14 on the power play versus the Blackhawks
3. Chicago RW Marian Hossa, who scored a short-handed goal versus
the Wild, is dealing with an illness and has been ruled out of
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Jets 1
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