The Winnipeg Jets host the Chicago Blackhawks this afternoon at MTS Centre.
Pregame coverage is already underway on TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg. Dennis Beyak, Shane Hnidy and Brian Munzwill have the play-by-play at 2:00pm ct.
The Blackhawks (8-2-3) are second in the Central Division with 19 points, only three back of division-leading Colorado, while Jets (5-7-2) sit seventh in the Central on with 12 points. The sixth-place Stars also have 12 points, but have a game in hand on Winnipeg.
Ondrej Pavelec (4-6-2, 2.87, .909) is expected to start in goal for the Jets. He is winless in three career games versus the Blackhawks.
Corey Crawford (7-2-2. 2.23. .916) is expected to counter for Chicago, making his fourth-straight start. He has never played the Jets before.
This is the first of four regular season games between the two teams and also marks the return to Winnipeg of hometown boy Jonathan Toews for his first NHL game in the city. The Blackhawks captain has three goals and four assists in five lifetime games against the Thrashers/Jets franchise. Toews is currently enjoying a five-game point streak (five goals and four assists.)
The Jets will also have to contend with former Thrasher Marian Hossa, who has 28 points (18 goals and 10 assists) in 23 career games against the Thrashers/Jets organization.
For Winnipeg, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little will look to continue their respective hot streaks. Both men have two goals and an assist in their last two games.
There will be a new face in the Winnipeg line-up today, as 22-year-old defenceman Ben Chiarot makes his NHL debut, wearing no. 63 for the Jets. He was drafted by the Thrashers in 2009. In nine games this season with the St. John's IceCaps of the AHL, Chiarot has two goals and three assists.
Due to a hip injury to Mark Stuart, Winnipeg also recalled Julian Melchiori from the IceCaps, however he is not expected to play today.
Special teams could also play a part in the game. The Blackhawks have scored on the power play in six straight games, but their penalty kill has struggled mightily. The team is last in the league (72.5 per cent,) allowing 11 goals on 40 opportunities.
The teams next face off on Wednesday in Chicago.
You can also catch that game live on TSN and TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg at 7:00pm ct.
Jets Projected Lines:
Blackhawks Projected Lines: