It was a coming out party for Anthony Duclair as he and the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the central division leading Winnipeg Jets 2-1. Duclair and the third line were responsible for two goals in the contest, and helped provide some much needed offense for Jeff Glass. Chicago (22-16-6) moves into a tie for the second wild card spot with the victory.
Both teams came out with a lot of speed in the opening period, with the Blackhawks and Jets putting the puck on goal three times a piece. Despite a thirteen minute scoring drought that would plague Chicago, Jeff Glass was able to hold off four Winnipeg (26-12-7) chances with a wonderful display of goaltending. Even though the Hawks would eventually close the shots-on-goal gap, they ALMOST scored on themselves. Chicago and Winnipeg finished the first period scoreless.
In the second however, the Hawks would strike first as birthday boy David Kampf scored his first career NHL goal off a redirected shot from Connor Murphy (also assisted by Alex DeBrincat). The goal came in the first five minutes of the period, and gave Chicago a 1-0 lead.
After trading power play opportunities late in the period, Chicago struck again after newly acquired winger Anthony Duclair assisted Jan Rutta for Rutta’s fifth goal of the season. The apple was Duclair’s first point as a member of the Blackhawks, and gave Chicago a lot of momentum heading to the dressing room at the second intermission.
The beginning of the third period belonged to the Chicago defense, as the Winnipeg Jets were only able to put five shots on goal in the first half of the final period. Despite some amazing saves by Glass (and some help from the home goalpost), Winnipeg pulled within a goal with three minutes left after Patrik Laine scored his 20th goal of the season. The Jets pressured Chicago for the remaining three minutes, but Chicago was able to close out the victory.
Chicago will face the Detroit Red Wings in their next game on Sunday afternoon at the United Center.
CHI goals: Kampf (1), Rutta (5)
WPG goals: Laine (20)
We Duclair that Anthony was a great addition to the offense
Anthony Duclair made his presence known from the drop of the puck tonight, including his participation in both scoring plays tonight. His addition to the third line has already added some much needed youth and speed to a team that is looking better and better in those departments lately.
Jeff Glass has been anything but thin
When it was announced that Corey Crawford would be placed on injury reserve, there was a lot of doubt surrounding the goaltender position at the madhouse on madison. While Anton Forsberg had shown signs of improvement, Chicago was in desperate need of a dependable net-minder as Crawford recovered. Enter Jeff Glass, who has helped provide some much needed stability between the pipes. His 31 save performance after getting a week off was nothing short of impressive.
Young defensemen are looking better and better
Gustav Forsling made a handful of big blocks in odd man rushes, Jan Rutta scored his fifth goal of the season and peppered Connor Hellebuyck with a handful of shots, and Jordan Oesterle is starting to look eerily similar to Niklas Hjalmarsson. For a team that needed to find defensemen at the beginning of the season, these guys are proving to be diamonds in the rough.
1. Jeff Glass (CHI) - 31 total saves
2. David Kampf (CHI) - first career NHL goal on his birthday
3. Anthony Duclair (CHI) - 1 assist in Blackhawks’ debut