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Jets Keep Rolling, Explode in Third Against Hawks

Photo by James Carey Lauder

Jets Keep Rolling, Explode in Third Against Hawks

It’s apparent the Winnipeg Jets needed an All-Star break. After all, since that break in late January, a once-struggling Winnipeg team has gone 4-1-1 and catapulted back into the National Hockey League’s playoff conversation.

Sunday night at Bell MTS Place, the Jets scored five unanswered goals — four of them in the third period — as the home side came back from two goals down to whip the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2.

With the win, the Jets improved to 29-23-5 and with 63 points are once again, the No. 1 wild card team in the West, just four points back of Dallas in the race for the Top 3 in the Central.

The Jets have now won three straight, four of their last five and have accumulated nine of a possible 10 points in their last five games.

On Sunday, the Jets fell behind 2-0 after the first period on goals by Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad of the. Blackhawks, but the Jets had outshot the Hawks 10-9 and looked like they were poised to mount a comeback.

In the second period, Kyle Connor scored his 27th of the season from Andrew Copp to make it 2-1 and then, in the third, Winnipeg blew the game wide open.

Blake Wheeler tallied his 17th of the year at 9:04 on the power play to tie the game and then Copp scored the eventual winner at 13:27 from Jack Roslovic and Josh Morrissey.

Patrik Laine, with his fourth goal in two games, made it 4-2 at 18:37, from Conner and Mark Scheifele and then capped his brilliant night with his 28th of the year at 19:40, from Laine and Scheifele to make it a 5-2 victory.

Connor Hellebuyck got the win, stopping 24 of 26 shots.

“It was a great, great pass by Jack (Roslovic),” Copp said of his 10th goal of the season. “I  just saw some space behind (Blackhawks defence man Erik) Gustafsson and I mean, that pass is fantastic; just to be on the same page with that. Great, great play by Jack (Roslovic).”

On the upside for Chicago, Winnipeg’s own Jonathan Toews garnered his 800th career NHL point with an assist on the game’s opening goal.

“They got off to a good start,” said Wheeler. “We tried to play their game for a period and then we got back to ours for the last 40 minutes. That gave us a chance.”

The Jets outshot Chicago 36-26 but the Hawks won 59 per cent of the face-offs. The Jets outhit the Hawks 24-16.

The Jets get back at it on Tuesday night when Oakbank’s Brett Howden and the New York Rangers invade Bell MTS Place. Game time is 7 p.m.

Covered his first junior hockey game for the Sarnia Observer in 1968. Covered his first Jets game for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1980. Still thinks hockey is the bees knees.

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