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Calvin de Haan, Robin Lehner to make Blackhawks debuts vs. Jets

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Two of Chicago’s biggest offseason acquisitions will be in the lineup this evening.

2019 NHL Global Series Challenge Germany - Chicago Blackhawks v Eisbaren Berlin Photo by Martin Rose/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks are one of four NHL teams remaining without a victory and they’ll look to correct that Saturday night when the Jets visit the United Center, as Chicago faces a Central Division opponent for the first time this season.

Winnipeg suffered through a tumultuous offseason. Dustin Byfuglien remains away from the team while contemplating retirement, its defensive depth was further weakened by a couple of summer trades and star forward Patrik Laine went to the media with his frustrations about the team. But that hasn’t affected the Jets through the first five games of the season, with Winnipeg winning three of them.

It’s many of the familiar faces doing the damage. Laine’s complains about not getting top-line time resulted in his promotion to the No. 1 spot alongside center Mark Scheifele and winger Blake Wheeler. The results have been impressive so far: Laine (3G, 7A), Scheifele (1G, 7A) and Wheeler (3G, 2A) are the three leading scorers in Winnipeg. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been solid in net and figures to get the nod this evening after having a night off following Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Wild.

Winnipeg’s defensive depth will remain a concern until it’s more proven, with its current configuration consisting of multiple names that will beg the question, “Who?” But the top line of Laine, Scheifele, Wheeler has already proven it can carry this team in the short term.

Meanwhile, a team with its own defensive concerns will suit up opposite Winnipeg. The Blackhawks defensive performance against the Sharks on Thursday did little to quell worries about Chicago’s prowess in its own end of the ice. But a boost could be available with the season debut of Calvin de Haan, who’ll take the place of Slater Koekkoek. In net, Robin Lehner will also make his season debut, boasting a career record of 4-0 against the Jets, with a 2.76 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Coach Jeremy Colliton shuffled the lineup at Friday’s practice, resulting in Brendan Perlini moving to the starting lineup over Alexander Nylander, who’ll be a healthy scratch.

There’s only thing for the Blackhawks to do:

Tale of the tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Jets

42.4% (31st) — Corsi For — 49.1% (18th)

46.9% (26th) — Faceoffs — 50% (14th)

3.5 (12th) — Goals per game — 3.6 (11th)

4.5 (28th) — Goals against per game — 3.4 (20th)

25% (14th) — Power play — 9.1% (25th)

50% (30th) — Penalty kill — 77.8% (16th)

Lineups

Blackhawks

DeBrincat — Toews — Caggiula

Shaw — Strome — Kane

Saad — Kampf — Kubalik

Smith — Carpenter — Perlini

Keith — Murphy

Maatta — Seabrook

De Haan — Gustafsson

Lehner

Crawford

Jets

Laine — Scheifele — Wheeler

Connor — Copp — Ehlers

Perreault — Roslovic — Appleton

Bourque — Lowry — Letestu

Morrissey — Pionk

Heinola — Poolman

Bitetto — Kulikov

Hellebuyck

Brossoit

How to watch

When: 6 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app