Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hawks take candy from Jets

MTS Centre crowd silenced as Chicago grabs easy 2 points

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Question heard downtown on Saturday: "Why do they allow such loud music in the library?"

Oh wait, this was the MTS Centre.

The Chicago Blackhawks made their long-overdue first regular-season appearance in Winnipeg, turning the mayhem into the foreign literature section with an easy 5-1 victory over the Jets and their disappointed fans.

The game went all library after Chicago scored three times in the second period's first 5:49, breaking a 1-1 tie set in the lively first.

"We were in pretty good shape in the first period as long as we could keep it that way," said Jets coach Claude Noel.

"I think in the matter of a couple of minutes, the game changed drastically and certainly when that happens, there's a lot of emotion that comes into yourself that is not good emotion and that's what starts to get to you.

"Plus you take the air out of the building. You've just managed to take the air right out of the building. That doesn't help. You're at home. That adds to the frustration level."

From 4-1, the Jets could find no way to break through the well-schooled Hawks, rendering the game's final shot tally, 27-25 Winnipeg, rather irrelevant.

"They're a team that plays the right way," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "First and foremost they're worried about keeping pucks out of their own net. We don't expect anything else from them."

Ladd also said his team wasn't proactive enough, especially in the right ways.

"There's momentum in the game and you have to find different ways to get it back," he said. "You have to find a way to get yourself and your team some energy going the other way."

The defeat leaves the Jets, 5-8-2, with just one win in their last seven outings.

NO FINISH, THEN FINISHED: The early moments of the second told everything about the afternoon.

Winnipeg started the period with a strong shift by Ladd, Bryan Little and Devin Setoguchi. There were two or three good scoring chances repelled by Hawks goalie Corey Crawford.

Then Brandon Bollig went back up the ice, fired in the 2-1 goal on a two-one-one at 54 seconds, followed by Patrick Sharp's honey deke of Ondrej Pavelec at 2:41.

Noel wasn't too enthused about a discussion on finishing abilities.

"It's the team you have," he said."We have what we have, they have what they have. You're not going to re-invent how to play.

"Puck management was critical. That was a key part of the game. Put them on transition, put them on special teams, you're going to have trouble.

"If you don't manage the puck well, you're going to have trouble. The wind got out of our sails when they scored their third goal, the second of the period.

"That was a play that really killed our team. It was a turnover and all the ice was behind our defence. You had to get pucks to the goalline.

"You didn't, it turned over and Sharp went down and put it in the net."

NEXT MOVE, HOOK: When Nick Leddy's point shot found net through a screen at 5:49, the Hawks had three goals on four shots early in the second and that sent Pavelec to the bench in favour of Al Montoya.

Noel wasn't pinning it on Pavelec, now 4-7-2.

"We made mistakes before it got to our goalies so I'm not going to sit here and blame our goalies," he said. "There's no rocket science way to play when you play a team that can hurt you."

Pavelec, however, owned up to a poor day.

"I'm frustrated," he said. "They showed us how to play. That's a really good team. I think we played a really good first period and then we slowed down and couldn't catch them.

"The last two periods, it's just embarrassing. Monday's another game. Chicago won the Cup for a reason."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2013 B3

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