Plain and simple; the Blackhawks needed a few days off after blowing a 3 goal lead in the 3rd period. Not only that but it was against their biggest rival (the St. Louis Blues) and in a game where prized rookie Connor Bedard had a highlight goal in the 1st period. You can see said goal below, while we've all seen it now ad nauseam it doesn't hurt to see it again.
After a brief rest, one of the hottest teams in the NHL comes in as the Winnipeg Jets look to continue their hot streak. Grabbing 17 out of possible 20 points in their last 10 matchups the Jets come in now as the 7th best team in the league points wise and the 6th best team points % wise. Long story short, this is a game in which the Chicago Blackhawks will not be favored.
The Jets are led by their long time trio of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Josh Morrissey. Each player is having an all-star season for the rejuvenated team. From an outside perspective it's looked like the combination of coach Rick Bowness returning (was out for a short time to attend to his wife's health), the subraction of Blake Wheeler and Pierre-Luc Dubois, and the additions that the latter player brought in (Vilardi) has made the difference for Winnipeg.
More to the point of the Jets success though was the organizational decision to not only stick with the core group of players but to extend them and build from within. Staying put were long time star players like Scheifele as well as net minder Connor Hellebuyck. The now 30 year old Michigan native has been outstanding and is in the short conversation for the Vezina award (best goaltender). Sporting a .918 save percentage and a 2.37gaa was helped aid the Jets from middling tiers all the way up into true Stanley Cup contender this season.
Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports has provided the possible lines for today's matchup. While the Hawks won't be favored tonight, it's always exciting to see hockey over the holiday break.