Fans gathered at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg Thursday evening were treated to another rendition of the ‘Patrick Kane Show’. Chicago’s star right winger collected a goal and three primary assists, factoring in on every one of the Blackhawks’ goals in a 4-1 victory over their Central Division rival Jets.
Despite having played against Colorado Wednesday evening, the Blackhawks came out of the gate Thursday as the sharper looking team. Just 59 seconds into the opening frame, Kane collected a Dylan Strome chip pass and stretched the play into a two-on-one. The two-time 100+ point scorer easily slipped the disc to Alex Nylander, cross-ice, who calmly beat Connor Hellebuyck for his fifth goal of the season, much to the shock of the hometown fans.
Although the Jets outshot the Blackhawks 16-12 in the first period, Nylander’s tally was the only goal by either team. Winnipeg had a late-period power play, to which the Jets put up four shots on three quality scoring chances, but goaltender Robin Lehner stood tall in Chicago’s crease.
The second period wasn’t any different, as Lehner continued his dominance in the Hawks’ cage, stopping all 14 of the Jets’ shots in the frame. It took nearly 13 minutes for Chicago to record a shot after the break, finishing with three on net in the period. Winnipeg continued to hold the shots lead 30-15 through 40 minutes.
Something changed between the second and third periods, as the visitors came out buzzing, once again scoring within the opening minute. This time it was Kane with a swift pass to Dominik Kubalik, who beat Hellebuyck five-hole 37 seconds into the period.
Winnipeg finally broke the goose egg with 15 minutes to play, as Tucker Poolman collected his second goal of the season on a one-timer off a pass from winger Nikolaj Ehlers. But just five minutes later, the Jets found themselves down a man on a questionable too-many-men minor. With a minute to play on the ensuing power play, Kane found a shifting Erik Gustafsson, who scored on a one-timer of his one, providing an insurance marker for the Hawks.
With 3:21 to go, Kane finished his four-point night with his first goal of the game, on a perfectly-placed wrist shot from the left circle. The Jets did finish atop the shot leaderboard 37-32, but gave up four goals in the process. Connor Hellebuyck made 28 stops, while Robin Lehner was beyond sharp, turning aside 36 pucks for his eighth win of the season.
Hometown product Jonathan Toews – Game On Magazine’s 2019 Male Player of the Year – finished the night as a +1 with four shots and a block in just over 19 minutes of icetime. Postgame, the former St. Vital resident spent the majority of his time talking with a local swarm of fans, supporters, childhood friends and neighbours, handing out hugs left, right and centre prior to departure.
Winnipeg now heads out on the road for a 1:00 PM central Sunday afternoon contest against fellow Central Division opponent Minnesota, where the team will look to avoid a third-straight loss. The game vs. the Wild can be viewed live on Sportsnet. Winnipeg next plays at home on Monday, as the Montreal Canadiens make their lone visit to Manitoba of the 2019-20 season. Puck drop on Monday is set for 7:00 PM.