The Chicago Blackhawks got an early goal from Brandon Saad, but it wasn’t enough as the Winnipeg Jets used a late surge to take a 4-2 victory at the United Center on Friday night.
Teuvo Teravainen scored his first career NHL goal for the Blackhawks in the loss. Chris Thorburn and Bryan Little each scored goals in the third period for the Jets, and Andrew Ladd added an empty netter as the Jets won their third consecutive game at the UC this season.
The fans at the United Center were barely able to settle into their seats before the Blackhawks seized an early lead. Less than a minute into the game, Corey Crawford made a big save on Mark Scheifele, and then Jonathan Toews won a face-off in the defensive zone. Grabbing a feed from Marian Hossa, Saad was able to get inside position on the rush and flipped a backhanded wrist shot past Michael Hutchinson to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Perhaps seeking to gain a physical edge in the game, the Jets came back with their fists flying, as Bryan Bickell and Anthony Peluso came to blows. Peluso did seemingly have the upper-hand in the fight, but he also picked up an extra instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct penalty. The Blackhawks unfortunately were not able to convert on the ensuing power play, and their lead remained just one goal.
The Blackhawks got another power play just after the previous one expired as Blake Wheeler was whistled for goaltender interference, but they couldn’t convert on that one either. This time the failure ended up costing Chicago, as Winnipeg was able to tie the game just six seconds after Wheeler left the penalty box. Andrew Ladd drilled David Rundblad in the corner to steal the puck, and then he fed a pass to the point where Zach Bogosian rifled home a shot to tie things up at 1-1.
After another fight, this time between Brent Seabrook and Jim Slater, it was Winnipeg that got the man-advantage, but they also were unable to convert. The Hawks’ forwards played a key role during the ensuing kill, and thanks to the momentum they generated the Hawks were able to stave off any further Jets advances as the game remained tied after the first period.
In the early stages of the second period, the Blackhawks were shorthanded again as Brad Richards was sent off for tripping up Little, but Winnipeg once again couldn’t get anything going their way. Their passes were so off-target that they ended up committing an icing infraction and spent most of the man-advantage in their own zone.
The game retained its physical edge through the rest of the second period, and neither team could gain an edge. A lengthy four-on-four situation thanks to matching minors for Dustin Byfuglien and Bickell did nothing to break the deadlock, and then at the end of the period more fireworks erupted. Mathieu Perreault was whistled for slashing Duncan Keith, and then after the play was over Daniel Carcillo got a minor of his own as he absolutely blasted the Winnipeg forward with a crosscheck. The officials eventually got everyone separated, and the teams headed into the locker room still tied after two periods.
As the game resumed, the Blackhawks had plenty of quality chances to score thanks to Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen, and Winnipeg played back on their heels in the opening minutes. Fortunately for them Hutchinson was able to make a couple of big saves when needed, and the game remained tied.
After the third period hit its halfway mark, the floodgate opened for both teams. On a power play, Winnipeg was able to push up the ice quickly, and when Bogosian floated a pass across the zone to Little, the veteran forward didn’t miss as he tapped in the easy goal to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Just 28 seconds later, the Jets scored again to add a key insurance goal. Adam Lowry got a slap pass from Byuglien in the middle of the slot, and his wrist shot on goal was deflected past Crawford by Chris Thorburn for his third goal of the year, and the Jets seized a 3-1 advantage with about 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Blackhawks weren’t finished yet however, as they were able to climb back to within a goal with a little over seven minutes remaining. Teravainen was the beneficiary of some good puck luck as the Jets were unable to clear the zone, and after Patrick Kane had the puck poked off his stick, the rookie fired home a quick wrist shot for his first career goal to make it a 3-2 hockey game.
As the clock wound down, the Blackhawks continued to fight hard to try to avoid losing a third straight home game against the Jets. Crawford made a tremendous save on one end after a turnover by Rozsival, and then Patrick Sharp and Brad Stuart got into a scuffle in front of the Winnipeg net after a shot in from the point.
The Blackhawks pulled Crawford late in the game, but it was a case of too little, too late as Ladd added the empty netter to leave the Hawks empty-handed once again against Winnipeg.
The Hawks will return to home ice on Sunday night when they take on the Dallas Stars in another Central Division showdown.