Preview: Winnipeg at Chicago
When: 5:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Patrick Kane was honored as the NHL’s First Star of the Month for November, and the Chicago Blackhawks forward is off to a good start this month, running his point streak to a franchise record-tying 21 games. But it has not been enough to shake the defending Stanley Cup champions from their recent slumber, as the Blackhawks enter Sunday’s contest against the visiting Winnipeg Jets having lost five of their last seven games.
Kane has collected 13 goals and 22 assists during his streak, tying Bobby Hull’s franchise record, but his goal and two assists in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Ottawa could not help Chicago avoid its third overtime defeat in the last seven games. “It’s just little defensive letdowns that are costing us points,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. The Jets face a quick turnaround after Saturday’s 2-1 overtime victory over Washington at home, getting another outstanding performance from rookie goaltender Conner Hellebuyck. Winning for the third time in three NHL contests, Hellebuyck made 37 saves and survived an onslaught in the extra session, turning aside six shots.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE JETS (13-12-2): Captain Andrew Ladd scored Winnipeg’s first goal Saturday, his third straight game with a tally, and Mark Scheifele’s game-winner in overtime gave him four points in his last two contests after a one-goal, two-assist effort Wednesday against Toronto. The Jets have scored a power-play goal in four of their last five games after netting just two in their previous 11 contests. Hellebuyck, promoted after Ondrej Pavelec suffered a knee injury on Nov. 21, has stopped 85-of-88 shots.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (13-9-4): Kane has been fantastic, leading the NHL in points (41) and ranking second in goals (16). Rookie Artemi Panarin, who scored his eighth goal of the season and set up two others Thursday, ranks in the top 10 in the league in assists (18) and points (26). Corey Crawford has allowed 15 goals while going 2-2-1 in his last five starts and has not held an opponent to fewer than two tallies in his past 13 contests.
1. Ladd, Scheifele and RW Blake Wheeler scored in Winnipeg’s 3-1 home victory over Chicago on Oct. 29 while Kane netted the Blackhawks’ lone goal.
2. Panarin leads all rookies in points and assists while ranking in the top five in goals.
3. The Blackhawks play six of their next seven at home, including a return visit by Winnipeg on Friday.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Jets 2