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Blackhawks blow 2-0 lead in 5-2 loss to Jets

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Jonathan Toews gets his 800th NHL point in his hometown of Winnipeg.

Chicago Blackhawks v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Jonathan Toews got his 800th NHL point with an assist, but the Blackhawks squandered a two-goal lead in a 5-2 loss to the Jets on Sunday night at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.

Dominik Kubalik scored 15 seconds into the game, and Brandon Saad collecting his fifth goal in seven games in the first period.

Kyle Connor scored a shorthanded goal and an empty-net goal as the Jets scored five unanswered goals. Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves for Winnipeg.

Corey Crawford made 31 saves on 34 shots for the Blackhawks, who are winless in three straight and four of their past five (1-2-2) after a five-game winning streak.

Toews stripped the puck from Andrew Copp behind the net then sent a pass through the slot to Drake Caggiula, who missed the net then found Kubalik at the right hashmarks of the right circle to make it 1-0 only 15 seconds in. Toews has 341 goals and 459 assists in 928 NHL games, all with Chicago.

The line of Kubalik-Toews-Caggiula were dominant through the first period, collecting 11 shot attempts for and three against at five-on-five and .57 expected goals for to just .1 against. The Blackhawks themselves were similarly dominant in possession through the initial 20 minutes, but that started with the first line.

Saad made it 2-0 at 10:58 with his 16th goal of the season. Nick Seeler picked up his point of the season with an assist in his Blackhawks debut.

The Blackhawks’ defense was exceptional in the first period, allowing just .72 expected goals against in addition to 10 shots and just two high-danger chances. The rest of the period included two penalty kills, although Crawford was likely the most impressive part:

Crawford remained the Blackhawks best player in the second period, as the team played a much closer game at even strength, but allowed the Jets to attack while shorthanded, as the Blackhawks’ power play was the weakest aspect of their game.

In five minutes of five-on-four power play time, all in the middle frame, the Blackhawks had four shot attempts against, including three on net, and three high-danger chances. That included Connor’s goal at 3:44 to make it 2-1.

The play came after a bad Alex DeBrincat turnover, as the young forward had a very bad game.

The Blackhawks’ penalty kill allowed less in the second period.

The Jets dominated the third period as they allowed only 13 shot attempts against, including seven on net, while they themselves had 21 attempts and 14 on net.

That domination included the Jets getting a power-play goal from Blake Wheeler to tie it 2-2 at 9:04 of the third.

Copp broke the tie with 6:33 remaining.

Crawford, who had been the best part of the game, allowed those two goals, and perhaps could have made a save on either one. His reaction to giving up the lead was not great:

Patrik Laine and Connor each scored empty-net goals for the 5-2 final.

The Blackhawks played undisciplined as the game wore on, and with 9:21 of four-on-five penalty kill time, that’s simply too much. Crawford lost his ability to make saves from early in the contest, but the team in front of him stopped playing the same way they were in the first.

Game charts

Puck possession flow chart
Shot heat map

Three stars

1. Kyle Connor (WPG) — 2 goals, 1 assist, 1 takeaway

2. Andrew Copp (WPG) — 1 goal, 1 assist, 20:01 time on ice

3. Dominik Kubalik (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 takeaway, 4 shots

What’s next

The Blackhawks continue their five-game road trip through Western Canada on Tuesday against the Oilers in Edmonton.