CHICAGO, Illinois – The Winnipeg Jets are never satisfied with moral victories – but they can still see the positives in a hard-fought game that, at the very least, will help define them moving forward.
Tonight was one of those.
Teuvo Teravainen’s goal 21 seconds into the third period proved to be the difference as the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks went on to defeat the Jets 3-1 at United Center.
Teravainen put Chicago back in front 21 seconds into the third as he unloaded from the far side, beating Michael Hutchinson, who couldn’t quite hug the near post.
“With a skilled player like that, that has that much time, you’re kind of expecting him to bring it to the net or settle it down,” Hutchinson said. “As soon as he got up, I glanced up to see where everyone else was. … As soon as I looked back, the puck was already on its way. It was a wobbling puck, too. I didn’t get a good ready on it. I have to make those saves.
“It’s frustrating to lose that way. We had some good scoring chances, but their goalie made some good saves.”
Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin also scored for the Hawks, while Chris Thorburn netted the Jets’ lone marker.
Hutchinson made 29 saves.
With an assist on Panarin’s empty netter, Patrick Kane established a new franchise record, recording at least a point in the 22nd straight game.
“We played hard. I’m happy with our game,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said. “I don’t like the result, it’s a winning business and I understand that. … A little slow in the first, but we were good – we were good after that. There were a lot of good performances tonight. We spent a lot last night, too. I liked (the effort) tonight.”
Hossa gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 17:56 of the first period. After Brent Seabrook flubbed a shot from the right point, Hossa jumped on the rebound, curled around Hutchinson’s glove hand and coolly counted the icebreaker.
Shots on goal were even at 11 apiece, while the Jets led 7-4 in 5-on-5 scoring chances, after one period of play. Marcus Kruger had a goal called back midway through when a review determined the Chicago forward propelled the puck into the net with a distinct kicking motion.
The Jets were all over the Hawks early in the middle frame, and after another unusual series of events, they (officially) tied it up at 5:48.
Toby Enstrom engineered the whole thing, driving the puck all 200 feet up ice, twice banking it off the boards in full stride before setting up an odd-man situation. The defenceman then fed a beautiful pass into the goalmouth, where an awaiting Thorburn chipped it off the back bar, fooling all 21,548 on hand.
Nearly a minute had to be put back on the clock following a TV timeout.
“I didn’t know [I scored],” Thorburn said. “Toby made a great play all the way up the ice, he centered it and I got a stick on it. I thought it got jammed between the pad and the post, so that’s where I was looking.”
While the Jets failed to record their first three-game winning streak of the season, they’ve played well over the past 10 games. The prevailing theme in the dressing room post-game is that the club is definitely “trending” in the right direction.
“We’re trending in the right direction, but if you don’t come up with a point or two, it’s discouraging. We need results,” Thorburn said. “Tonight we fell short and hopefully can get some days here, some practice, and redeem ourselves next week.”
The Jets outshot the Hawks 12-9 in the second. They were a strong, confident team at both ends of the rink, ready to pounce whenever the opportunity presented itself.
They just didn’t have enough in the third.
“A loss is painful and the harder you play the more they hurt. But you’ve got to leave the rink believing in what you’re doing,” Maurice said. “We’re playing the right way. Playing the right way doesn’t mean we’re going to win the next 50 games. … but if you play the right way, you’ve got a chance. We’ve got lots of growth and room to improve, but I think we’ve got a good belief in who we are now and the style of game we have to play to win.”
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com