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Blackhawks return to the United Center ice tonight against Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Jets will go for their fourth win in a row
when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the
United Center.
Winnipeg (26-11-7) has scored 15 goals in its past three games and
leads the Western Conference with 151 goals this season. The
outburst of offense has propelled the Jets to first place in the
Central Division as they seek their second playoff appearance since
relocating from Atlanta before the start of the 2011-12 season.
Meanwhile, Chicago (21-16-6) is hoping for a bounce-back
performance after opening a six-game homestand with a 2-1 loss
against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks have
slipped out of the top eight spots in the conference and hope to
collect as many points as possible before a five-day break between
games next week.
"All these games are huge," Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane
said to the Chicago Tribune. "It's easy to look at the schedule and
the standings and say, "OK, if we do this or that, we could be in
good position, but we have to take it one game at a time, see how
many points we can get."
Chicago will try to find a way to slow down Jets captain Blake
Wheeler, who has at least one point in each of his past seven
games. Wheeler is one of six players on the Jets who have scored
double-digit goals this season.
Forwards Patrick Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers have 19 goals apiece to
lead the team.
For the Blackhawks, Kane leads the way with 45 points (18 goals, 27
assists) in 43 games. He has performed well against Winnipeg
throughout his career with 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 24
Winnipeg likely will turn to Connor Hellebuyck in net. The
24-year-old has a remarkable 23-4-6 record with a 2.36
goals-against average and .923 save percentage this season. He is
4-3-0 with a 2.17 GAA and .933 save percentage in seven career
appearances against Chicago.
Earlier this week, Hellebuyck learned that he was selected to his
first NHL All-Star Game.
"It's awesome," he said to the Winnipeg Sun. "It's a big
accomplishment in my life. (My confidence) is high. It's exactly
where it was last year, but now I can really trust it.
"The guys in front of me can see it. They can feel it. They're
helping it a lot because they're playing so well. You can see in
the details of our game. Everybody is doing the right thing.
They're not cheating at all, and that's really helping me a lot."
Goaltender Anton Forsberg is expected to make his fourth straight
start for the Blackhawks, who are without goaltender Corey Crawford
because of an upper-body injury. The 25-year-old Forsberg is 3-6-3
with a 2.92 GAA and .911 save percentage this season. He never has
faced the Jets in his career.
This is the second of five meetings between the teams during the
regular season. In the first matchup Dec. 14, the Blackhawks
cruised to a 5-1 victory in Winnipeg.


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