The Blackhawks are looking to bounce back from a crushing defeat for the second time in five days as they take on the Jets in Winnipeg Thursday.
In their third of four regular season meetings, Chicago hopes to bounce back in a similar fashion to Sunday’s 5 – 1 victory against San Jose just one night after being decimated by Nashville 7 – 2. And it’s not going to be easy – Winnipeg is itching to rifle some pucks past Crawford.
After two games, Chicago has outscored Winnipeg 9 – 2 despite both teams firing about the same number of shots on the goaltender. Both Al Montoya and Ondrej Pavelec have played in net for Winnipeg, while Crawford has been the only goaltender for Chicago against Canadian contender. Despite allowing three early, first-period goals against Colorado Tuesday night, Crawford is expected to start in net.
The Blackhawks recalled Jeremy Morin Wednesday from Rockford yet again with an injury to Bryan Bickell in Denver, which Quenneville says could sideline him for a “couple of weeks.” Morin played well in six games with the Hawks this season even though he remained mostly off the scoresheet (with the exception of notching two assists). The feeling around Morin during that six-game stretch was that he squandered his opportunity to grab a more permanent spot and was overshadowed by the play of Brandon Pirri. While there may be some truth to it, the need for position players in Chicago overshadowed demand for point-producers off the bat – Pirri was just able to kill those two birds with one stone. Morin could cash in soon, but there’s still plenty of time this season for him to prove his worth in the NHL.
Neither team has cashed in on the Power Play against each other this season, and special teams is a sensitive subject in Chicago. It has been experiencing woes and a frustrating lack of production over the past 3 seasons. This season, however, Chicago cashed in on 20.8 percent of PP opportunities, ranking them 8th in the league. It’s improving and can still use some work, but the Hawks may have found a formula that could keep working (HINT: it starts with a good screen and crisp passes).
Blackhawks injuries include Marian Hossa (lower body), Michael Kostka (lower body), Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and Michal Handzus (upper body). Winnipeg is missing Zach Bogosian (lower body) and has 4 players listed on IR for Thursday’s game. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be found on Comcast SportsNet.