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Jets score five unanswered goals to beat Blackhawks

Stastny, Trouba return to action to help Jets snap three-game winless skid

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - An early dose of adversity to begin a six-game home stand didn't rattle the confidence of the Winnipeg Jets.

Brandon Saad put the Chicago Blackhawks up 1-0 just 11 seconds into the opening period, but all that did was motivate the Jets.

They responded with five unanswered goals before the end of the first period, and finished with a 6-2 win, snapping a three-game winless skid that included an overtime loss.

Video: POSTGAME | Jets 6, Blackhawks 2 - F

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

"We had been pretty good all year that our game doesn't really change a whole lot if something ugly happens early in the game," said head coach Paul Maurice. "It doesn't happen too often to us, but we needed a response based on the last game - giving up a goal early and not being good.

"We got quick enough in that period. Being able to answer right back is important. It makes you feel good. Then again, you have them on their heels a little bit."

Video: CHI@WPG: Connor taps in a nice feed from Little

Just as important as the win - the 25th on home ice this season, setting a new franchise mark - was where the offence came from.

Kyle Connor scored twice, with Paul Stastny, Joel Armia, Jack Roslovic, and Bryan Little adding singles - meaning all four lines contributed offensively.

Four Jets had two-point nights, including Jacob Trouba, who had 14:47 of ice time in his first game since a lower-body injury on Jan. 25.

Video: POSTGAME | Jacob Trouba

"I felt good. I felt better than I was expecting," said Trouba. "We got off to a bit of a different start there with the goal. Nothing really changed on the bench, which was nice to see. I missed being a part of that. Everybody was staying positive, the same kind of attitude we wanted to have to start the game."

The Jets challenged Saad's opening goal for offside to no avail, but once they killed off the delay of game penalty that followed, the offence got rolling, led by the trio of Stastny, Patrik Laine, and Nikolaj Ehlers.

Video: CHI@WPG: Roslovic steals puck and goes top shelf

Laine pulled a nifty toe drag around Saad at the Jets blue line, and sent a cross-ice pass to Ehlers on the left wing. Ehlers and Stastny worked a give-and-go to gain the zone, before Ehlers found Stastny to the right of Anton Forsberg. Stastny deflected it through the legs of Forsberg, evening things up just 2:32 after Saad's goal.

The goal was Stastny's 15th of the season, and extended Laine's point streak to 14 games, the longest by a teenager in NHL history.

Just over 90 seconds later, Trouba's return made an impact. He took a pass from fellow Michigan alum Andrew Copp, and sent a wrist shot toward the Chicago net that was tipped by Joel Armia, putting the Jets up 2-1.

"I didn't feel like I was forcing it or anything. I felt like if it was there, just play hockey. I didn't feel like I was forcing anything or doing anything out of the ordinary," said Trouba. "Everyone that seems to come back just slides right back in. There are enough players to fill the void that you're not just thrown back into the fire, and expected to go nuts. You can kind of - not ease your way back in - but go as comfortably as you feel."

Video: CHI@WPG: Little pots tricky wrister to pad the lead

Roslovic made it 3-1 before the midway point of the first period with his first goal in 16 games. The 21-year-old won a puck battle in the middle of the ice with Artem Anisimov. Then using the open ice, he sniped his fourth of the season short side on Forsberg, just under the bar.

That was the end of the night for Forsberg, who allowed three goals on six shots. But it wasn't the end of the Jets offence in the first period.

Video: POSTGAME | Jack Roslovic

"He's a big guy, so being a bit smaller than him, he's got a size advantage. You just have to get low on him, and it's really about the battle there at that point," said Roslovic.

"This team preaches about depth, and we have a lot of it. It was good to get guys back with Jacob and (Stastny) after the one game. We're good all up and down the line-up."

Video: CHI@WPG: Armia pots tricky redirection in front

Winnipeg made it 4-1 when Trouba hit Little with a stretch pass near the Chicago blue line. Little took a few strides and snapped one from the top of the circle that beat Berube over the glove on the far side to make it 4-1.

Then 44 seconds later, Little took a beauty cross-ice feed from Wheeler on the right wing, and threaded a pass cross-crease to Kyle Connor for a tap-in. Connor's 24th of the season made it 5-1 Jets after 20 minutes.

Chicago's Patrick Sharp would score the lone goal in the second period, while Connor netted his 25th of the season into the empty net with 49 seconds left in regulation, sealing the 6-2 win.

"Going into the season I didn't really set any expectations numbers wise. I just went into it with an open mind and tried to work hard and improve every game," said Connor.

"We lost our last couple there (on the road), so we really wanted to rebound. Coming home too, we had our legs and we were getting going. That was a tough back-to-back at the end of the 12-day road trip. We're refreshed, and it showed tonight."

Video: POSTGAME | Kyle Connor

The Jets (42-19-10) have an off day tomorrow before welcoming the Dallas Stars for the second game of the six-game stretch at home on Saturday.

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