The Blackhawks are on an impressive roll after sweeping a three-game road trip through Eastern Canada that ended with a 6-2 smashing of the Maple Leafs on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Jonathan Toews’ four points and Dominik Kubalik’s two goal effort propelled Chicago to their fourth straight win. It was a much-needed two points to remain in the clustered pack of teams vying for a Western Conference Wild Card spot:
Patrick Kane had an assist for his 999th NHL point on Brandon Saad’s goal. He has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) during a nine-game point streak.
The Blackhawks’ offense has been on fire with 17 goals during their four game win streak, including six from Kubalik, but their defensive structure deserves some credit as well. Chicago has allowed seven goals and averaged 28 shots against at five-on-five, which is an encouraging improvement as they’ve been bombarded by a league high 35 shots per game this season.
With Saad and Drake Caggiula back in the lineup after extended absences due to injuries, Dylan Sikura was reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL on Sunday morning. Sikura added one goal and two assists in nine NHL games this season.
Robin Lehner will start against Winnipeg in the second game of the back to back after Corey Crawford won two straight games. Lehner is 1-0-1 and has a 0.943 save-percentage against the Jets this season.
Winnipeg is 4-6-2 in their past 12 games after a 7-1 home loss to the Lightning on Friday. The Jets begin a three-game road trip Sunday, and are 3-1-1 in their past five road games.
Mark Scheifele continues to pace the Jets with 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists), including 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his last nine games. He joins a dangerous top six that includes talented playmakers Blake Wheeler (15 goals, 26 assists) and Kyle Connor (24 goals, 23 assists), as well as Patrik Laine (15 goals, 28 assists).
Like the Blackhawks, the Jets have given up way too many high-danger scoring chances against (HDSCA). The two teams are tied for 30th in the NHL with 173. However, Winnipeg’s goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has weathered the storm with a .920 save percentage, 13.6 goals saved above average and leads the NHL in saves (1,122) and shutouts (four).
Hellebuyck is slated to start after being pulled Friday.
Chicago has a tantalizing opportunity to extend their win streak to a season high five games and leap over the Jets in the standings. This is a big one. Let’s go Hawks!
Toews was asked about it last night and said he didn’t even realize he was close to 800. But he knows now.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) January 19, 2020
What I’m hoping for is for Toews to get a point, and then have Keith goal assisted by Toews & Kane to all hit milestones simultaneously. Keith is at 99 career goals. https://t.co/FRktuqXz9x
Tale of the Tape
48.5% (t-20th) — Corsi For — 48.3% (t-22nd)
46.7% (26th) — Expected goals for — 41.8% (31st)
3.00 (t-17th) — Goals per game — 3.00 (t-17th)
3.00 (t-15th) — Goals against per game — 3.00 (t-15th)
15.5% (27th) — Power play — 20.9% (11th)
82.1% (6th) — Penalty kill — 74.4% (28th)
Kubalik — Toews — Caggiula
Saad — Carpenter — Kane
DeBrincat — Dach — Kampf
Highmore — Smith — Nylander
Keith — Boqvist
Gustafsson — Murphy
Maatta — Koekoek
Copp — Scheifele — Ehlers
Connor — Wheeler — Laine
Perreault — Lowry — Roslovic
Bourque — Shore — Appleton
Morrissey — Niku
Kulikov — Pionk
Bitetto — Sbisa
How to watch
When: 6 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV