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Toews, Hossa lead Blackhawks past Jets

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- With the Chicago Blackhawks in need of a jolt, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa provided one Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

Hossa returned from injury and scored the game-winning goal and added an assist to help the Blackhawks beat the Jets 6-3 at MTS Centre. Toews finished with a goal and three assists and was 18-for-26 in the faceoff circle for the Blackhawks, who lead the League with 34 points.

"Any night, you'll take that," said Toews, who grew up in Winnipeg, "but it's especially special to have that happen in Winnipeg."

The Jets kept Toews off the scoresheet Nov. 2 in his hometown NHL debut.

While the Blackhawks (15-4-4) were missing injured left wing Bryan Bickell (lower body), they got back Hossa, who missed three games with a lower-body injury. Hossa broke a 3-3 third-period tie, flipping a centering pass from Toews over Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at 3:11 for his 10th goal.

"[Hossa] was good," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's one thing about Hossa. He plays the right way. He's very consistent and predictable, and you expect him to play that way game in and game out, and he didn't miss a beat."

Hossa was receiving treatment after the game and was not available to speak.

Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and Ben Smith also scored goals before Patrick Sharp finished off the Jets with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Andrew Ladd, Keaton Ellerby and Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets (10-11-3), who had two goals on four power-play chances. After a 1-for-47 stretch earlier in the month, the Jets, who began the game ranked 28th in the League on the power play, are on a 5-for-13 run.

Corey Crawford stopped 22 shots two nights after the Colorado Avalanche had knocked him out of a 5-1 loss Tuesday with three goals on seven shots.

The Blackhawks limited Winnipeg to two first-period shots, including 13:30 without allowing a shot.

Pavelec returned from a one-game break and faced heavy pressure early. Chicago directed 12 first-period shots at Pavelec, several of them in-close scoring chances. Pavelec finished with 27 saves.

"We got what we deserved," Pavelec said. "If you play in your zone like we did tonight, you can't expect to get a point. They won the [Stanley Cup] for a reason."

The Blackhawks arrived in Winnipeg having lost two of their past three games, with opponents outscoring them 12-3 in the two defeats. Their season-high seven-game road trip began with the blowout loss to the Avalanche.

The Blackhawks, who will not return to United Center until Dec. 3, continue their trip through the Western Conference on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

"I really liked the way we played," Quenneville said of the Blackhawks' bounce-back effort after the Colorado loss. "I thought that we answered the bell at the start of the game and answered the bell when they had their run there in the second [period]."

Toews joined Quenneville in praising how the Blackhawks responded to road losses against two Central Division foes, Colorado and the Nashville Predators, in the past week.

"I think experience is a factor," Toews said, "and just the thought process and mentality of our hockey team. It's not just one or two guys talking. It's everybody getting into the chatter and getting that energy up so that we know that we need to respond and play better."

The Jets, winless in three games after a four-game winning streak, are last in the Central Division and need to start amassing points to remain relevant in the packed Western Conference race. After hosting the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, the Jets leave for a six-game tour through the Eastern Conference, their longest road trip of the season.

Jets coach Claude Noel was not sure why his team started slowly against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who had outscored them 9-2 in the teams' two meetings earlier this month.

"It became evident why they're in first place," Noel said. "We've got a ways to go."

The Jets' effort did not sit well with Ladd either.

"I don't think we had everyone going tonight," Ladd said. "That's the first thing. You need everybody to show up and play hard. I don't think we had that. To me, that's the biggest thing."

Noel will spend the time before the Minnesota game looking for answers.

"That's a good question -- what do you do?" Noel said. "That's what I'll be thinking about. How? Why? It's something I have to figure out. It's part of the job."

Kane took advantage of the Blackhawks' second power play of the game, circling through the Winnipeg zone to the top of the right circle before snapping a rising shot that fooled Pavelec at 17:26 of the first period. Kane, who has 12 goals on the season, is on a nine-game scoring streak in which he has five goals and seven assists.

Saad added a 4-on-4 goal early in the second period to put Chicago up 2-0. The goal, Saad's seventh, was the first of three goals in a 48-second span that ended with the game tied at 2-2.

Ladd fired his sixth goal past Crawford, beating him low to the glove side, 29 seconds after Saad's goal. Then, on the power play, Ellerby fired a hard, heavy shot from the top of the circles that snuck past Crawford. The goal ended Ellerby's 103-game drought, which stretched back to March 17, 2011, when he played for the Florida Panthers.

Toews restored the visitors' lead with his 11th goal when the teams were skating 4-on-4. Chicago's captain peeled down the right boards and beat Ellerby to the net before lifting a shot over Pavelec at 11:03.

But Byfuglien went to work after back-to-back minors to Chicago's Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival set up a two-man advantage for the Jets. Byfuglien needed 14 seconds to drive the net and push a puck through Crawford's pads at 13:30. Byfuglien, who did not score in the Jets' first 18 games, has six goals in his past six.

"We walk into the third period, we're tied 3-3," Noel said. "We're still in the game. We just [needed] to muster up 20 minutes. They stepped it up. We weren't able to step up."

After Hossa's goal made it 4-3, Smith shoveled his third goal of the season under Pavelec at 5:22 before Sharp scored his eighth of the season into an empty net with 54.1 seconds remaining.

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