Blackhawks-Jets Preview

The Associated Press

After opening a seven-game road trip with a lopsided defeat, the Chicago Blackhawks will try to bounce back by extending their dominance over the Winnipeg Jets.

The Blackhawks seek a seventh consecutive win over the Winnipeg franchise and third this season Thursday night.

Chicago (14-4-4) was blown out for the second time in three games with Tuesday's 5-1 setback to Colorado, and Corey Crawford was pulled after giving up three goals in the first 13:17. Despite outshooting the Avalanche 37-23, the Blackhawks only avoided a shutout when Brandon Saad scored with 7:50 remaining. It was the first time all season Chicago had fewer than two goals.

"We've just got to forget about it," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "It was a tough game right from the start. We've got to have a better start and be ready to play in Winnipeg."

Chicago rebounded from a 7-2 loss in Nashville on Saturday by topping San Jose 5-1 the next night. Judging by recent matchups with Winnipeg, the Blackhawks would appear to have a chance to pull off the same feat Thursday.

Chicago has won the two meetings by a combined 9-2 and pulled away for a 5-1 win Nov. 2 in captain Jonathan Toews' first regular-season game in his hometown. Toews didn't have a point, but did score the opening goal in the rematch in Chicago four days later.

Toews has three points in his last five games after totaling 16 in his first 17, but the Blackhawks likely have greater concerns.

Chicago has given up 21 goals in the last five contests, and Crawford is 3-2-0 with a 4.21 goals-against average over that stretch.

The Blackhawks are also hoping to avoid an extended absence from forward Bryan Bickell. He left in the first period Tuesday with a lower-body injury after crashing into the Colorado net.

"Bicksie is obviously a big part of this and you hope it's not too long,'' forward Kris Versteeg said. "Obviously, we need him in the lineup."

There's a chance Marian Hossa might return from a lower-body injury against his former franchise after missing three games. Hossa played two-plus seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, who moved to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 campaign.

The Jets (10-10-3) had one of their longest win streaks since that move - a four-gamer - snapped with a 2-1 loss in Minnesota on Sunday. They then had a four-game home win streak end with a 5-4 shootout loss to Calgary the next night.

Winnipeg's Bryan Little sent the game into overtime with six seconds left but his team couldn't earn a second point after eight shootout rounds. The Jets battled back from four one-goal deficits.

"We have a day off (Wednesday). I think it's time to re-energize and recharge," coach Claude Noel said. "We got a point out of it. We've got to move forward and go from there."

Former Chicago defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has all five of his goals and three assists in his last seven games. He has two assists in four matchups with Chicago.

Little has seven goals and six assists in his past 11 contests, but doesn't have a point in his six against the Blackhawks.

Chicago star Patrick Kane seeks to extend an eight-game point streak. Kane has four goals and seven assists during that run, and 11 points (five goals and six assists) in seven career matchups with the Jets franchise.

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