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Jets at Blackhawks preview

Winnipeg trying to build lead in Central Division; Chicago needs win to remain in wild-card race

by Scott King / Correspondent

JETS (45-29-4) at BLACKHAWKS (34-33-11)

8:30 p.m. ET; WGN, TSN3, NHL.TV


The Game

The Winnipeg Jets look to open a lead in the Central Division when they play the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Monday.

Winnipeg, which is tied with the Nashville Predators for first place and two points ahead of the third-place St. Louis Blues, has lost three straight games after going 5-1-0 in its previous six. The Jets are trying to avoid their longest losing streak of the season.

Chicago is 2-3-2 in its past seven games and can be eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a regulation loss and one point by the Colorado Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks also can be eliminated if they lose in overtime or a shootout and the Avalanche win in any way, or if they win in a shootout and the Avalanche win in regulation or overtime. The Blackhawks are six points behind the Avalanche for the second wild card from the West with four games remaining.


Players to watch

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck is 2-3-0 in his past six games, but has a 2.36 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage and two shutouts during that span.

Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat has three goals in his past two games and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 41.


They said it

"We have our work cut out for us. You look at our next opponents, everyone is battling. We're going to have to come out here and start doing the right things and hopefully we can get back on the win side." -- Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien

"Obviously there's a lot on the line tonight, and if we win we keep these meaningful games going. Playing against a good team, too, who's trying to get ready for playoffs. Should be a good test." -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane


Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Kyle Connor -- Kevin Hayes -- Patrik Laine

Brandon Tanev -- Adam Lowry -- Bryan Little

Mathieu Perreault -- Andrew Copp -- Jack Roslovic

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot -- Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

Connor Hellebuyck

Eric Comrie

Scratched: Par Lindholm, Bogdan Kiselevich, Joe Morrow, Sami Niku, Matt Hendricks

Injured: Josh Morrissey (upper body), Laurent Brossoit (lower body)


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Drake Caggiula

Brendan Perlini -- Dylan Strome -- Dominik Kahun

Alex DeBrincat -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Chris Kunitz -- Marcus Kruger -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Erik Gustafsson

Gustav Forsling -- Brent Seabrook

Carl Dahlstrom -- Connor Murphy

Corey Crawford

Cam Ward

Scratched: Dylan Sikura, Slater Koekkoek

Injured: David Kampf (facial/dental injury)


Status report

Kampf was injured when he was struck by a puck while killing a penalty during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.


Stat pack

Wheeler needs one assist to pass Marc Savard (69) for most in a season for the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers. … Kane, who will play his 900th NHL game, needs one point to match his NHL best of 106 in 2015-16. He has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in his past 12 games after he had 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) in his previous 22. … Anisimov will play his 700th NHL game.

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