Jets put champ’s winning streak on ice in Winnipeg
Michael Hutchinson has no problem rising to the challenge of playing the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Winnipeg Jets back-up goalie made a career-high 45 saves on Thursday night in a 3-1 victory. The Jets put an end to Chicago’s four-game winning streak and Hutchinson improved his record against the Blackhawks to 4-0-1.
"It’s just one of those teams that sometimes you have it where things just go your way," Hutchinson said.
The Jets (6-3-1) held a 2-1 edge heading into the third period on goals by Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd, both set up by center Bryan Little.
Mark Scheifele added to the lead at 8:04 when he took a pass from rookie Nikolaj Ehlers and beat goalie Corey Crawford on the short side.
Scheifele praised Hutchinson, who is 4-0 this season and has a .949 save percentage and 1.75 goals-against average backing up starter Ondrej Pavelec.
"He was awesome all night. That’s about it," Scheifele said. "He was unbelievable for us tonight. He kept us in it, especially in that first period."
Patrick Kane scored the game’s first goal, his sixth of the season, at 1:26 into the game on a power play for Chicago (6-4-0).
Kane said they had chances to score more and credited Hutchinson with some big saves, but added that his team has to find the back of the net more often. Their two previous games were 1-0 victories.
"At this point in time we can do things a little bit different to make it tougher on their goalie," Kane said. "Try to get to the net, stay at the net, get shots through, get rebounds and try to bang in goals that way. Get some dirty goals because it seems all the pretty plays are not really happening for us."
Crawford had come into the game with two straight shutouts in his four wins. He stopped 28 shots.
The Jets got off on the wrong foot when defenseman Toby Enstrom took a hooking penalty 18 seconds into the game.
Chicago made them pay, as Kane took a cross-ice pass from center Artemi Panarin and fired a low shot past Hutchinson.
Wheeler tied it at 1 with his fifth goal of the season after Little won the faceoff, sent the puck back to him and he delivered a low shot from the top of the circle that went under Crawford’s stretched-out left leg at 8:12 of the first.
With hometown product Jonathan Toews in the box for holding, the Jets peppered shots at Crawford until Ladd flipped in a Little rebound to go ahead 2-1 at 5:09 of the second.
Toews said the team effort is there most of the time.
"But, unfortunately, the times we let up are ones that ended up hurting us," he said. "Just tighten up our game and be more consistent and stay with it. Can’t get frustrated."
Chicago pulled Crawford with just under three minutes remaining, but Hutchinson withstood the challenge of the extra skater.
It was the final game of Winnipeg’s season-long, six-game homestand (3-2-1)
Notes: Ehlers extended his point streak to five games, with four goals and four assists . The Jets have given up the first goal in eight of their first 10 games and are (5-2-1) in those matches . Jets forward Mathieu Perreault picked up an assist in his 300th NHL career game. … The Jets head out for a four-game road trip, starting Saturday in Columbus. Chicago travels to Minnesota on Friday.