September 2, 2015


Record: 43 – 26 – 13

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Winnipeg Jets

Heat warning in effect

Hawks apply usual beating

Coach Noel will be trying to come up with answers

Bryan Little gets in close on Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during the first period. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks with Jets owner Mark Chipman in the stands. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (9) and Brandon Saad (20) of the Chicago Blackhawks collide as Mark Scheifele (55) and the Blackhawks' Michal Rozsival (32) look on during the first period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Andrew Shaw celebrates after the Blackhawks score in the first period. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Andrew Shaw celebrates after the Blackhawks score in the first period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) takes down a member of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (9) chases Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya (27) behind his net during the second period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien gets a shot past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) for a goal during the second period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets (from left) Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd celebrate after Byfuglien's second-period goal. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) stops a backhander by Winnipeg Jets centre Bryan Little (18) as Hawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson (centre right) and Andrew Ladd (left) look for the rebound during the second period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets (from left) Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd, Keaton Ellerby and Dustin Byfuglien celebrate Ellerby's goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Conservative MP Shelly Glover (left) shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper something on her phone as Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge (right) looks on. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Jonathan Toews (left) and Patrick Kane (88) celebrate Toews' goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya plays the point during the third period. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Smith (28) raises his arms in celebration after scoring in the third period. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks forwards Ben Smith (left) and Kris Versteeg celebrate after Smith's third-period goal. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks (from left) Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook celebrate Sharp's empty-net goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period as Jets captain Andrew Ladd skates by. (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Bryan Little gets in close on Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during the first period. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks with Jets owner Mark Chipman in the stands. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (9) and Brandon Saad (20) of the Chicago Blackhawks collide as Mark Scheifele (55) and the Blackhawks' Michal Rozsival (32) look on during the first period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Andrew Shaw celebrates after the Blackhawks score in the first period. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Andrew Shaw celebrates after the Blackhawks score in the first period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) takes down a member of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (9) chases Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya (27) behind his net during the second period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien gets a shot past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) for a goal during the second period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets (from left) Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd celebrate after Byfuglien's second-period goal. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) stops a backhander by Winnipeg Jets centre Bryan Little (18) as Hawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson (centre right) and Andrew Ladd (left) look for the rebound during the second period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Jets (from left) Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd, Keaton Ellerby and Dustin Byfuglien celebrate Ellerby's goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Conservative MP Shelly Glover (left) shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper something on her phone as Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge (right) looks on. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Jonathan Toews (left) and Patrick Kane (88) celebrate Toews' goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya plays the point during the third period. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Smith (28) raises his arms in celebration after scoring in the third period. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks forwards Ben Smith (left) and Kris Versteeg celebrate after Smith's third-period goal. - (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Chicago Blackhawks (from left) Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook celebrate Sharp's empty-net goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period as Jets captain Andrew Ladd skates by. - (JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A lesson the Winnipeg Jets have learned, the hard way, about using the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks as a measuring stick:

It hurts like Hades when the champs snatch said measuring stick and promptly use it to spank your backside raw.

Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (left) and Patrick Kane celebrate Toews' goal. Toews threw in three assists Thursday night for good measure.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (left) and Patrick Kane celebrate Toews' goal. Toews threw in three assists Thursday night for good measure.

The Jets battled the champion Hawks fairly even through 40 minutes Thursday night in downtown Winnipeg -- with the game tied 3-3 heading into the third -- but, alas, played the punching bag in the final 20 minutes and exited bruised and battered physically and, no doubt, emotionally, after a 6-3 loss.

Just to quickly detail the carnage to date against Chicago: The Jets are now 0-3 against the their rivals this season and have been outscored 15-5. The victory pushes Chicago to 15-4-4 while the Jets, winless in their last three (0-2-1), fall to 10-11-3.

And so if the Hawks are the measuring stick, captain Andrew Ladd was asked, what do the Jets have to do to close the gap?

"I don't think we had everyone going tonight, so that's the first thing," said Ladd. "We need everybody to show up and play hard and I don't know if we had that tonight. To me, that's the biggest thing. When we're skating and putting the puck behind their 'D' we were able to play in their end and create some chances.

"But it can't just be a shift here or shift there."

 

THE COACH CONCURS WITH THE CAPTAIN

A number of Jets grabbed some pine at various stages during Thursday's game, including Devin Setoguchi, who had only 11:01 of ice time spread out over 13 shifts as Claude Noel bumped Michael Frolik to the second line.

Keaton Ellerby also watched for a stretch after Jonathan Toews swept around him for his 11th goal of the season. Two Jets -- Evander Kane and Olli Jokinen -- were minus-3 while four others, Grant Clitsome, Zach Redmond, Blake Wheeler and Toby Enstrom, finished minus-2.

"When you watch that, I didn't think we had a lot of good players," said Noel. "We really got exposed in our 'D' zone. I thought their skill was evident in the game.

"And I didn't think we had enough good players... or strong players. They won a lot of battles in the hard areas."

 

CENTRAL DIVISION/ WESTERN CONFERENCE WOES

It would be pure folly to suggest, with a week still left in November, that the Jets' playoff chances are slowly slip-sliding away. Consider that Nashville's win over Toronto Thursday pushed the Predators past the Jets in the Central, dropping Winnipeg to last in the division.

The Jets are now an abysmal 3-9-1 against their new Central rivals and 6-10-2 against the West.

"We got what we deserved," said Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. "If you play in your zone like we did tonight, it's tough to get a point. They won the Cup for a reason.

"We did some good things, we scored some power-play goals and the second period was really good. But the 'D' zone coverage... I don't know if we didn't know what to do... that's a really good team and we had problems handling those guys."

 

SMALL 'P' PROGRESS

The Jets' power-play, an Achilles heel for much of the season, accounted for two goals against the Hawks, giving them five in their last four games. And a good chunk of that PP offence has come from the big man, Dustin Byfuglien, who had a goal and an assist with the man advantage.

After going goal-less in his first 18 games, Byfuglien now has six in his last six. And he's picked up a point on 10 of the Jets' 11 power-play goals (4G, 6A).

 

CAPTAIN SERIOUS, THE SUPERHERO

Winnipeg's own Toews was the best player on the ice at the MTS Centre and it wasn't even close. The Hawks' captain finished with a goal and three assists, equalling a season high (3G, 1A, Oct. 29 vs. Ottawa) and now ranks second on the club with 11 goals and 23 points in 23 games.

 

SO... NOW WHAT?

Back to the measuring-stick angle... Here's Noel with the last word on the topic of what to do to close the considerable gap between the champions and his squad:

"It's a good question... What do you do? That's what I'll be thinking about tonight. How? Why? It's something I've got to figure out.

"Having said all that, we walk into the third period and we're tied 3-3, still in the game. We just need to muster up 20 minutes. But they stepped it up and played and we couldn't handle it."

 

-- with files from Tim Campbell

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 22, 2013 C1

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