Hossa returns for Blackhawks, scores big goal in win over Jets
Jonathan Toews especially enjoyed this trip home.
Toews had a goal and three assists, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
"It felt good, I'm not going to lie," the Blackhawks captain said. "It means a little bit more to have a chance to get on the scoresheet here in Winnipeg, in front of dozens of family and friends that are here at the game. There's a little bit of added effort there."
Toews linemate Marian Hossa put Chicago ahead for good in the third period with a goal in his return to the lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and Ben Smith also scored for Chicago (15-4-4), and Patrick Sharp capped it with an empty-netter. The Blackhawks have won all three of their meetings with the Jets this season.
"It was a more consistent, more complete effort," Toews said.
Added coach Chicago coach Joel Quenneville: "I thought we answered the bell at the start of the game and answered the bell when they had their run there in the second. Excellent first and third periods."
Andrew Ladd, Keaton Ellerby and Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets (10-11-3), who scored three goals in the second period.
"I thought their skill was evident in the game," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said of the Blackhawks, who have two Stanley Cups in the last three seasons. "We didn't have enough good players, we didn't have enough good players or strong players. I thought they won a lot of battles in the hard areas. When you win Cups in the years that they've won them, you can see why."
Goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who kept the Jets in the game in the first period, said they got what they deserved.
"You play in your zone like we did tonight, you can't expect to get a point," he said.
The first period was all Blackhawks, who controlled possession of the puck and outshot Winnipeg 12-2.
"Fur sure it was a concern," Noel said of the failure to get up for the game, although he didn't have any answers.
"It's something I've got to figure out, it's part of the job. Having said all that, we walk into the third period, we're tied 3-3, we're 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."
Kane's power-play goal late in the first got things started and Saad snapped one in from the slot to make it 2-0 just over three minutes into the second.
The Jets then scored two goals in 29 seconds to tie it.
Bryan Little fed Ladd and Ellerby used Winnipeg's first power play of the game to score his first with the Jets from the point at 3:51.
Toews put the Blackhawks back in the lead with a 4-on-4 goal just past the 11-minute mark, beating out defenseman Toby Enstrom and slipping the puck past Pavelec from the side of the crease.
But Winnipeg came right back on a 5-on-3 opportunity that Byfuglien cashed in at 13:30, with Winnipeg's third shot within seconds on Crawford to even it up a 3.
The Jets bounced back in the second period with a 14-8 advantage in shots.
Hossa put the Blackhawks ahead at 3:11 of the third when he outplayed Ellerby while swinging past the Jets net. He slipped the puck through a very small hole left by Pavelec.
Smith raced in to bang in a rebound for some insurance at 5:22 to make it 5-3.
A Winnipeg radio station urged fans to wear helmets to the game in response to the Chicago fan who stole Adam Pardy's helmet after the Jets defenseman was checked through the glass at the United Center on Nov. 6. But the team told fans they wouldn't be allowed in if they showed up with helmets on Thursday night.
There was a heavy police presence at the game but it wasn't because of the rivalry between the two Central Division teams. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in attendance.
NOTES: The Jets and Blackhawks play once more, Jan. 26 in Chicago. ... Ladd and Byfuglien played for the Blackhawks and Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was assistant GM when Chicago won a Stanley Cup in 2010. Michael Frolik was with the Blackhawks when they won the Cup last season.