Jim Slater got the Winnipeg Jets off to a great start scoring twice in the first period however, the powerful and very talented Blackhawks line-up would score four goals in a row to defeat the Jets 4-3 in Chicago on Thursday night.
Ron Hainsey, who played 22:50 minutes of ice-time, was credited with two assists on the night while Patrick Kane was able to tally a goal and two assists for the home team 'Hawks.
"We got off to the great start and we just turned it over against a team that’s too good for that," said Hainsey. "You have to get out of the first with at least a lead, we were probably lucky to get out of that period tied, and it carried over to the first shift of the second, and then you’re chasing a good team. Not good enough with the puck, too many turnovers."
Coach Claude Noel saw some great things from his young group but needs to stress the fact that you can not quit after one period of hockey, especially against a team like the Blackhawks.
“I think marginally we were [better than the season opener], in spurts, I think we started a little bit better," said Noel. "We were better, but so was the opponent. It just shows you that it’s a good team. We got up 2-0 and you’d like to think you can hold onto it for a while, but it’s like golf, it’s 18 holes, golf isn’t done in the first three holes. We gave them a power-play and they jumped on it and got on the board. It’s a 60-minute game, you’ve got to play right through.”
Andrew Brunette, Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa all added goals for Chicago while Kyle Wellwood would pick up his first of the season for the Jets.
The team will conclude their two-game road trip on Saturday night in Phoenix against the Coyotes. Puck drops at 6:00 pm CST and can be seen on CBC- Hockey Night in Canada.
Jim Slater got the Winnipeg Jets on the board early silencing the crowd in the United Center. Johnny Oduya snapped a hard shot just inside the blueline with Slater in perfect position to deflect the puck past 'Hawks netminder Ray Emery. 1-0 Jets just 4:34 into the opening frame.
The bounces continued to go in the Jets favour and Slater finding a comfy spot in front of Emery. Ron Hainsey wired a slapshot from the point that Slater just got a piece of it to redirect the puck into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Tobias Enstrom was the first to head to the penalty box as he was caught for tripping seconds after the Jets second goal.
The 'Hawks made the Jets pay on the man advantage at the midway marker of the first period as Andrew Brunette battled down low in front of Ondrej Pavelec finding the back of the net on a backhand shot. The 'Hawks cut the lead in half on just second shot of the night.
Patrick Kane tied the game 2-2 at 16:50 on a one-timer from a nice feed from Marian Hossa. Hossa was able to beat Enstrom across the blueline and send a nifty pass onto the tape of Kane.
After 20 minutes, the Jets and Hawks are tied 2-2. Shots were 11-9 in favour of the 'Hawks.
The Hawks got a quick start in the second period as Hossa picked up the third goal for Chicago. Hossa fired another one-timer past Pavelec to go up 3-2 early. Hossa picked up his 389th goal in his 900th career NHL game.
Seconds later, Evander Kane drew a penalty for his squad as he was leveled at centre ice. With 19 seconds left on the power play, Kane tried a wrap-around shot that looked like it was in the net but the play was whistled down, no-goal. The play earned a closer look under review however the call on the ice stood and the game remained 3-2.
David Bolland later gave the Hawks a 4-2 lead at 6:45 of the middle frame. Pavelec was able to rob Bruan Bickell but Bolland was there to snap in a rebound that just barely squeeked under Pavelec's pads and into the net.
Kyle Wellwood got the Jets within one at 14:34 of the period after a mad scramble in front of Emery. Ron Hainsey started the rush taking the first shot on net. Brett MacLean scooped up the rebound and passed the puck over to Wellwood behind the net. With his back to the net, Wellwood took a chance and threw the puck between his legs at the net which hit Emery and the back of the net.
After 40 minutes, the Jets trailed the Hawks 4-3. Shots were 24-19 in favour of the 'Hawks.
The pace of the game settled down in the third period with no goals or penalties in the first half of the final frame. A few good chances on either end of the ice but the 'Hawks did a good job of holding their lead through 11 minutes of play.
In the second half of the final period, it seemed as though Coach Claude Noel was running mainly three lines on the ice with Mark Scheifele and Tanner Glass two players held to a handful of minutes each.
Evander Kane, Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien seemed to be the go-guys for Noel in the later part of the third period but, despite the chances and the last minutes scramble in front of the net, the Jets couldn't find a way to tie the game and drop a 4-3 decision to the Blackhawks.
Both Byfuglien and Hainsey saw over 22 minutes of ice-time. Shots after 60 minutes were 32-30 for the Blackhawks.
The Jets conclude their two-game road trip in Phoenix on Saturday night. Game time is 6:00 pm CST on CBC.