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Blackhawks vs. Jets game preview 2017: Scott Darling to start

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Chicago looks to snap a three-game losing streak against Winnipeg this season.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Darling will start in net for the Chicago Blackhawks when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at United Center.

In order to go into the All-Star break with a win, the Hawks will have to snap a three-game losing streak to the Jets, who have outscored Chicago 9-2 in three meetings this season.

Chicago (30-15-5) is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Minnesota Wild, who have three games in hand.

Darling is 12-4-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and is coming off his second shutout this season. He stopped 30 shots last Friday in Chicago's 1-0 road victory over the Boston Bruins.

Darling has performed well at home this season, posting a 7-2-1 record with a 1.98 GAA, a .938 save percentage and a shutout. One of those losses, though, came against Winnipeg. Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots against the Jets on Dec. 4 in Chicago. Overall, Darling is 2-1-0 with a 1.89 GAA, .936 save percentage and a shutout in his career against the Jets.

Chicago could also have center Marcus Kruger back in the lineup. Kruger, who has been out since Dec. 31 and missed 11 games with a hand injury, has two goals and eight assists in 39 games. He centered the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Marian Hossa during Wednesday's practice.

The Hawks appear to have a good chance to reverse their fortunes as Winnipeg has dropped six of eight following a 4-3 loss to San Jose on Tuesday. Bryan Little scored twice and rookie Patrik Laine posted an assist in his first game after missing eight contests with a concussion.

Laine, the No. 2 overall pick in 2015, scored in the Jets’ 4-0 home win over Chicago on Nov. 15. He ranks among the top rookies in the league with 38 points (21 goals, 17 assists).

Lineups

Blackhawks

Forwards

Hartman-Toews-Panik
Panarin-Anisimov-Kane
Schmaltz-Kero-Hossa
Desjardins-Kruger-Hinostroza

Defensemen

Keith-Hjalmarsson
Kempny-Seabrook
Campbell-van Riemsdyk

Goalie

Darling

Jets

Forwards

Ehlers-Scheifele-Laine
Copp-Little-Wheeler
Matthias-Lowry-Armia
Tanev-Petan-Thorburn

Defensemen

Morrissey-Byfuglien
Enstrom-Trouba
Stuart-Postma

Goalie

Hellebuyck

How to watch: Jets at Blackhawks

Time: 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: CSN