RECORDS: Hawks 9-17-5 Jets 18-9-2
PUCK DROP: 7pm
TV: NBCSN Chicago
WARM JETS: Arctic Ice Hockey
When you’ve lost seven in a row for the second time in a season, and really the second time in about five weeks, I think it’s healthy to play a team that’s better than you at every single position. It’s just crazy enough to work! It’s going to be an extremely busy week for the Hawks, and I can’t see how that’s a good thing if only because they’re going to plague society with their brand of hockey four times in the next six days. It kicks off in Manitoba tonight, where they just were and pretty much got flambed until the Jets completely turned off, and then the Jets will be here again Friday. The Hawks might just be getting deeper and deeper into the hot dog machine before they come up for anything resembling air again.
Not much has changed between these two teams since they last did this in the last game of November. The Hawks haven’t won, and the Jets have only dropped one in the last five, somehow getting shut out by the Blues at home. Maybe they did that just to tease the Hawks and let the Blues pass them in the standings. They’re just that vindictive.
At this point, there isn’t much to inform you about the Jets. You now that they’re four lines of fury. You know that the top six is probably the best in hockey. You know that Adam Lowry and Matthieu Perreault form one of the best checking lines in hockey. You know that Jack Roslovic on the fourth line is going to burst out at some point soon. You know the defense is a little shaky, and especially this season, but that it matters little when the forwards are this good. You know that Connor Hellebuyck has been having a dodgy season, but since giving up five to the Hawks (mostly after the Jets had kicked their feet up and put on sunglasses), he’s given up just six goals in his last four appearances and three in his last three. And you know that plenty of other goalies of late have used the Hawks to remember what it feels like to feel good about oneself. The Hawks have become the ugly best friend to the rest of the league.
So yeah, the Jets come into this one rolling, pretty much healthy, and needing to keep pace with the Predators and Avalanche at the top of the Central. All that spells “FUUUUUUUCKK” for the Hawks.
As for the Hawks, a couple changes. Artem Anisimov is in a dark room somewhere, so David Kampf is moving back to center…Patrick Kane? Oh dear lord. Chris Kunitz looks like he’s coming back in to fuck things up, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Alex Fortin.
Gustav Forsling isn’t eligible to come off the IR yet, so Brandon Manning should keep his place in the lineup with Brent Seabrook, at least for a while. The only pairing that Jeremy Colliton seemed inclined to keep together on Sunday was Connor Murphy and Erik Gustafsson, and everyone else rotated (though some of that was due to Manning missing a good chunk).
There’s nothing I can say to make you think this one will go well. It probably won’t. The Hawks just aren’t cut out for this type of thing anymore. Maybe you catch the Jets in a midseason malaise or Hellebuyck has a game-long sneezing fit. But hey, we’re in this together.
Game #32 Preview Suite