Winnipeg Jets Gameday Preview: Chicago Blackhawks 2/11/23

With another All-Star Weekend in the books, the Winnipeg Jets gear up for their first game back. Heading into the bye week with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, the team hopes to clinch another win tonight as they face the Chicago Blackhawks and host South Asian Heritage Night.

The two teams have battled each other three times already this season and the Jets came out on top in all of the matchups. Tonight, the Jets will be returning home and hope to continue to reign victorious over the Blackhawks. 

Winnipeg Jets Celebrate
Blake Wheeler, Cole Perfetti and Nate Schmidt of the Winnipeg Jets celebrate a goal (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

In a tight battle to finish the regular season at the top of the Central Division and the team’s first game back since the All-Star Break, tensions will be high. Let’s take a look at the projected lines, standout storylines and players to watch before puck drop. 

Winnipeg Jets Projected Lines


Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler

Kyle Connor – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Cole Perfetti 

Morgan Barron – Adam Lowry – Karson Kuhlman

Saku Maenalanen – Kevin Stenlund – Mason Appleton


Josh Morrissey – Neal Pionk

Dylan Samberg – Brenden Dillon 

Logan Stanley – Nate Schmidt

Starting Goalie

Connor Hellebuyck

Chicago Blackhawks Projected Lines


Patrick Kane – Jason Dickinson – Tyler Johnson

Taylor Raddysh – Max Domi – Philipp Kurashev 

Colin Blackwell – Sam Lafferty – Andreas Athanasiou

Boris Katchouk – MacKenzie Entwistle – Reese Johnson


Seth Jones – Jake McCabe

Connor Murphy – Jack Johnson 

Ian Mitchell – Caleb Jones

Starting Goalie

Petr Mrazek

Standout Storylines

Winnipeg Jets Enter the Final Stretch

Connor Hellebuyck and Josh Morrissey definitely had a good time representing the Jets over the All-Star Weekend, but now it’s time for the team to get to work as they prepare for the final stretch of the season. The team has only 30 games remaining in the regular season with a perfect balance of 15 at home and 15 on the road. The Jets currently have an 18-8-0 record at home and are 14-11-1 on the road, proving they do perform better at home, but not by a landslide. After an 11-day break, the team should be refreshed and ready to put on their best performance.

Coming out of the break, it’s time to get serious. Teams realize the playoffs are quickly approaching and there’s only so much time left to solidify their place in the standings. For the Jets, they have been competing for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Related: Jets: 3 Improvements That Need to Be Made in the Second Half

Latest News & Highlights

It is this final stretch that will determine the team’s fate and set the precedent for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first matchup of the 30 remaining games should come with some heat, as the players have had plenty of time to rest and tensions will be rising as the players recognize the clock to the playoffs is ticking.

Trade Deadline Approaching – Toews and Kane’s Uncertain Futures

It is less than a month away from the trade deadline (March 3 at 3 p.m. EST), yet the futures of two stars on the Blackhawks are still unknown. Both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have not decided, at least publicly, if they are staying with the franchise. The two 34-year-olds are both at the end of their eight-year contracts, are pending unrestricted free agents, and have full no-movement clauses. 

On Monday (Feb. 6) Kane discussed keeping his options open as the trade deadline approaches, saying, “I think there are definitely opportunities out there that are intriguing and could be exciting. We’ll see.”

Kane has been staying close with his agent during the process saying, “He’s told me a few [teams] that have kind of reached out to him. Obviously figuring out a team that might be the best fit,” he said. “But we’re not really at that point there.”

Jonathan Toews Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The right-winger has been a Blackhawk his entire NHL career, being drafted first overall in the 2007 NHL Draft. He currently leads the team in assists (26), power-play points (16), shots (156), and faceoff percentage (100). Many have speculated that with the Blackhawks sitting low in the standings and the franchise in the midst of a rebuild, his time with the team might be coming to an end. 

As for Toews, he has also been a Blackhawk for the entirety of his career, but he does not feel confident in the way he has been playing as of late. 

“For myself, it’s just kind of a tricky situation, the last year of my contract and I haven’t played my best hockey in some time, so I’m not sure what the opportunities or what’s going to come knocking,” said Toews in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago

He continued, “But there’s no doubt in my mind, again, I’m focusing on my game, trying to improve that every single day and trying to enjoy just playing the game, being a Blackhawk as long as I can, for however long that is and while it still lasts.”

With the trade deadline looming, it’s only a matter of time before fans find out the fate of these two franchise players. 

Players to Watch

Nikolaj Ehlers

Nikolaj Ehlers has had his fair share of battles to overcome this season, the most notable being his sports hernia surgery. The 26-year-old only played two games before sustaining the injury. He has played 14 games since returning on Jan. 6 and has combined for 15 points. 

Nikolaj Ehlers Winnipeg Jets
Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With 11 assists and four goals, the left-winger is averaging more than a point per game since returning. Ehlers has been able to rest and recover for 11 days due to the All-Star Break, so he should be ready to go tonight. 

Tyler Johnson

Another player fans should look out for is Tyler Johnson. The forward has only played 24 games this season due to injuries. Johnson played only 4:07 of ice time before aggravating an ankle injury against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 22. He then missed the Blackhawks’ three remaining games before the All-Star Weekend. 

Johnson made his return to the roster on Tuesday (Feb. 7), where he tallied an assist and had 19:44 of ice time. As the matchup against the Jets will only be Johnson’s second game back, and he immediately earned a point in his first game after returning from his injury, he is one to watch. 

Will the Jets continue their domination over the Blackhawks, or will the narrative be reversed? Tune in Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10:00 p.m. EST to find out!

Sign up for our free ‘Jets Substack Newsletter‘ for all the latest.