The Winnipeg Jets travelled south to Chicago Sunday evening for a Central Division battle with the red-hot Blackhawks team fresh off a dominant 6-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sunday’s game didn’t go much better for the Jets than Saturday’s game did for the Leafs.
Lifelong Hawk Patrick Kane collected his 1,000th career NHL point, Robin Lehner made 36 saves, while both Erik Gustafsson and Alex Nylander had a goal and an assist for the home town Blackhawks in their 5-2 victory over Winnipeg. Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine responded for the Jets, who fell to 25-20-4 on the season – drawing even with Chicago with 54 points on the season.
The Blackhawks began the game on the right note, scoring the opening goal just 2:51 in. Alex Nylander stopped a David Gustafsson point shot, before out-waiting Connor Hellebuyck en route to tucking his sixth of the season past the Jets’ netminder. Gustafsson and Nylander then switched places 12 minutes later as Gustafsson collected a Nylander pass before firing a seeing-eye point shot past Winnipeg’s goaltender.
Down 2-0 heading into the second period, the Jets needed nearly the entire 20 minutes of the middle stanza before finding a way to cut the lead in half. Much like Nylander’s earlier tally, Mark Scheifele picked off a Nikolaj Ehlers shot and carried the puck past Blackhawks’ netminder Robin Lehner, before putting it into the open net. Although ahead 28-22 in the shot department, the Jets trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes of play.
The third period saw the Hawks restore their two-goal lead almost exactly halfway through the frame, as David Kampf put his seventh of the season past Hellebuyck, going up 3-1 on the play. Then the attention of all gathered at the United Center turned to the Patrick Kane show.
Sitting at 999 career points, Kane picked up the secondary assist on a Brandon Saad tap in, becoming just the 90th player to earn 1,000 career NHL points. The arena erupted, while teammates flooded the ice from the bench to congratulate the three-time Stanley Cup champion.
The game resumed shortly thereafter with an exchange of goals between Patrik Laine and Dominik Kubalik, before ultimately wrapping up as a 5-2 Blackhawks win – the club’s fifth-straight. Winnipeg, on the other hand, moved to just 3-5-1 through nine games of 2020.
The Jets received 28 stops on 33 shots from goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, while Chicago’s Robin Lehner made 33 saves in the victory for the home team. Winnipeg saw centreman Adam Lowry leave the game with an upper-body injury at the 19:44 mark of the first period, following a high hit from highly-penalized forward Drake Caggiula.
The Jets have now lost four of their last five games and will look to turn things around as the continues its miniature three-game road trip on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, before travelling to Columbus for a test against the Blue Jackets Wednesday. Tuesday’s 6:00 PM central game will be available on TSN, while Wednesday’s 6:30 PM start can be viewed live on Sportsnet.