(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they visit the Winnipeg Jets for Saturday's battle at MTS Centre.
The defending Stanley Cup champions have won two straight against Minnesota and Ottawa, scoring 11 combined goals over the two games. Another victory on Saturday would give Chicago its second three-game winning streak of the season, following its stretch from Oct. 11-15.
Chicago recorded a 5-1 win in Minnesota on Monday to split a home-and-home series with the Wild and then notched a 6-5 victory the following night against visiting Ottawa. Jonathan Toews posted two goals in the third period to notch his third career hat trick and help the Blackhawks outlast the Senators.
Andrew Shaw scored twice while Marian Hossa had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks, who have won four of their last six outings. Nikolai Khabibulin started in net but was pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 22 shots. Corey Crawford spent the rest of the time in the net and allowed just one goal on 15 shots to get the win.
Chicago trailed the Senators by a 4-2 score in the second period before mounting its comeback. Toews' first tally cut the deficit to one goal before the end of 40 minutes and Chicago's captain scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the third period to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 advantage. Shaw scored later in the third to push Chicago's edge to 6-4.
"Guys just don't give up in this clubhouse," said Toews. "There's been a bunch of times since I've been here that we've come back in the third period being down a goal or whatever. You want to finish the job and this team we have can do that."
Toews, a native of Winnipeg, will be playing for the first time in his hometown. This is Chicago's first road game against the Jets since the franchise relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season.
Chicago has taken four straight and five of six in the series against the franchise formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers. The last game in this series was on Oct. 13, 2011 when the Jets visited the Blackhawks early in their first season in Winnipeg. Toews had an assist to help Chicago record a 4-3 regulation win in that contest.
Saturday's game marks the first of four meetings between the Blackhawks and Jets, who are now playing in the same division thanks to realignment. Winnipeg was formerly a member of the Eastern Conference's Southeast Division, but moved West to join the Central for this season.
The Jets enter Saturday on a two-game slide and the club has managed just one win in its last six trips to the ice, going 1-3-2 during that stretch.
Each of Winnipeg's last two games ended in 3-2 regulation losses, including Tuesday's setback in St. Louis. The loss against the Blues came in the finale of a four-game road trip and dropped Winnipeg to 2-3-1 as the visiting team this season.
Alex Steen netted the winning goal with one minute left in regulation to help down the Jets on Tuesday. Winnipeg had tied the score at 2-2 on Bryan Little's seventh goal of the season with 9:33 left in the third, but Steen won it on a backhand shot with 60 seconds remaining.
Wheeler also tallied for the Jets while Andrew Ladd assisted on both scores. Ondrej Pavelec suffered the defeat in spite of 30 stops.
"I thought we gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game, but the frustrating thing is this has happened in back-to-back games. We gave them five power plays at the end of the game, it is like we're finding ways to lose," said Jets head coach Claude Noel.
On Saturday, Winnipeg is playing the first of two straight and three of four on home ice. The Jets are 3-4-1 as the host this season.
Chicago is 3-1-1 as the visiting team.
Crawford expects to get the start in net for Chicago on Saturday and is 3-1-0 with a 1.93 goals against average in four career games versus the Jets. Pavelec is 0-1-2 with a 3.83 GAA in three lifetime outings against the Blackhawks.