Despite attempting 76 shots and finding Michael Hutchinson with 33 of them, the Chicago Blackhawks were held without a goal for the second consecutive game on home ice as they dropped a 1-0 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
Former Blackhawk Michael Frolik scored the game’s only goal just 20 seconds into the contest. Corey Crawford made 26 saves for the Blackhawks, but it wasn’t enough as they lost for the third time in their last four games.
The opening face-off went to the Jets, and it was quickly deposited into the net to give the road team the lead. Brent Seabrook tried to pokecheck the puck away from former Blackhawk Andrew Ladd, but the Jets’ captain was able to skirt around him and fire a shot at Crawford. Crawford made the initial save, and Zach Bogosian fed the puck back toward the net. Eventually Frolik found it and deposited it past Crawford to put Winnipeg up by a 1-0 margin.
Over the next few minutes, the Blackhawks established what would ultimately be the theme of the game as they piled up scoring chances, but with no results. Brad Richards had a wraparound attempt stopped by Hutchinson, and Trevor van Riemsdyk fired a shot just wide of the cage a few moments later. Andrew Shaw missed the initial rebound and then tried a wraparound of his own, but once again Hutchinson was up to the task as the Jets remained ahead.
The Blackhawks got a power play seven minutes into the period, but they couldn’t quite figure out their passing at the point. Richards turned the puck over and allowed the Jets to kill off 30 seconds of the power play, and then Patrick Sharp did the exact same thing to finish off the man-advantage with a whimper.
Two Blackhawks penalties knocked the home side back on their heels in the closing minutes of the period, but the penalty killing unit was able to kill off both infractions in short order. Sharp did manage one more great shot off the post on a breakaway late in the period, but Winnipeg still maintained a 1-0 edge through 20 minutes.
With the second period getting underway, the Blackhawks once again established some good possession in the offensive zone, but scoring chances weren’t exactly flowing forth from those opportunities. Sharp and Patrick Kane both had great chances early, but Sharp’s slap shot was blocked down and Kane’s wrister was soaked up by Hutchinson.
Another power play yielded a few good chances for Jonathan Toews, but neither shot ended up in the net. His first shot was an absolute rocket that clanged loudly off the post, and his second shot was a one-timer that went right into the crest on Hutchinson’s jersey. Sharp finished off the deluge with another ripped slap shot, but Hutchinson made the save and continued to give Chicago fits.
That power play was the highlight of the second period for the Hawks, and as the third period got underway, they continued their assault. They had four shots on goal in the first three minutes of the frame, but just like in Saturday’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs (the Blackhawks failed to score on 26 shots on goal in the third period of that contest), they still couldn’t find pay dirt.
Deflections weren’t even going the Hawks’ way as the period continued. Jeremy Morin tipped a Ben Smith shot just wide as he skated through the crease, and a few moments later Andrew Shaw was able to tip a shot from Kane, but it too went just wide.
As the third period wound down, the Hawks pulled Crawford with 90 seconds remaining in the game, but they couldn’t generate any quality chances. Sharp did have a drive to the net stymied by the Winnipeg defense, but when the Hawks couldn’t keep possession, the Jets were able to run out the clock and secure a hard-fought victory.
After seeing 30 of their shots blocked and 13 more miss the net, the Hawks will have to go back to the drawing board as they prepare to face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.