The Chicago have finally solved the Winnipeg Jets, but it took overtime to do it Friday night at the MTS Centre.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/2/2015 (2696 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Chicago have finally solved the Winnipeg Jets, but it took overtime to do it Friday night at the MTS Centre.

Brandon Saad dumped in a centring pass from Patrick Kane at 3:01 of the extra period and the Hawks took home a 2-1 victory over the Jets before 15,016 fans who were treated to one high-quality hockey game.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) gets his glove on the shot from Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) gets his glove on the shot from Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday.

In four games this season with the Hawks, the Jets are ahead seven points to two.

But Chicago, having lost two in a row and three of the previous four, still has the upper hand in the Central Division, now at 66 points to Winnipeg’s 62

And the Jets are still stumbling, albeit slightly forward, after six straight losses. The last two have been in overtime, granting them one point for each in the standings.

"I think they were looking, after a couple of losses, to play a pretty tight game," Jets coach Paul Maurice said about confronting the Hawks on Friday. "There wasn’t a lot of flow to that game. A lot of sticks on pucks and it was hard to generate any speed through the neutral zone for both teams.

'What happens in the room stays in the room. It’s not getting out. And that’s my answer' ‐Jets captain Andrew Ladd

"Both teams were... it was a tight-gap game. Which was fine. With the talent and speed they have in their lineup, that’s the way it has to be played."

The Jets now have 10 overtime and shootout losses (7-10), a number that’s getting uncomfortable. Chicago, on the other hand, is 9-2 when games go beyond 60 minutes.

"It would be nice to play a solid 60 minutes and have that good feeling leaving the building," Maurice said. "The shootout ones I don’t worry about. The points are critical. We’d like to have a little more success with that."

The game was not as run-and-gun as Tuesday’s overtime loss in Vancouver, but this was a case of two pretty determined teams playing alertly and smartly, at least as much as is possible.

 

Emotions run high

The game had an instant charge to it since it was the first meeting since the teams played Jan. 16 in Chicago.

In that Jets victory, Chicago’s Daniel Carcillo was thrown out of the game for cross-checking Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault and was subsequently suspended six games for the blow.

'I have the option of telling you everything that I know and I control the spin. Or, I have the option of handling it the way I want the hockey team to handle it and protect everybody'‐ Paul Maurice

Just 1:07 in on Friday, Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn issued the challenge and he and Carcillo dropped the gloves for a spirited scrap, pleasing the fans and settling the game down to a more focused level.

"In my mind, I’ve been thinking about it since that game," Thorburn said. "I wanted to get it over with quick."

 

He strikes

Jets centre Mark Scheifele opened the scoring with an accurate close-in shot at 4:17 of the first period, his first goal in 11 games.

"I thought there were a lot of good things in tonight," Scheifele said after connecting for his eighth of the season. "I thought we were back to our physicality and up to speed.

"I’ve been working on my game the last little while. I think I just want to play the style I know how to play and the style that’s going to help this team win."

 

The forward

Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien once again played as a forward, even though the Jets had recalled Patrice Cormier from St. John’s on Thursday.

On a regular line with Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault, Byfuglien finished with 19:02 of ice time and was a plus-one, with four shots on goal and seven total attempts.

Maurice said Friday Byfuglien, though he has played very well as a defenceman since early December, is a forward for the foreseeable future.

 

Rotation continues

The Jets went back to goalie Michael Hutchinson, who had beaten the Hawks three times in Chicago this season.

He faced 22 Chicago shots and really had no mistakes. His record dropped to 14-7-3.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

more coverage on C2-4

 

Note: Can't see the live-coverage box on this page? View it in a new window.