The Chicago Blackhawks never recovered from a tough second period, losing 4-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night in Manitoba.
Winnipeg hadn’t played in almost two weeks and Chicago took advantage by owning the majority of the play in the first 20 minutes, owning advantages in 5-on-5 shots (10-6) and scoring chances (9-6), which helped the Blackhawks own a 68.18 percent share of the expected goals in the opening period.
They didn’t score, though, and that would come back to haunt them.
Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey broke the scoreless deadlock with this nifty backhander early in the second period:
Josh Morrissey picks off the Chicago clear and fires home a backhander to break the ice for the Jets!#GoJetsGo pic.twitter.com/LNzARt3eJh— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 12, 2023
Later in the second, Sam Lafferty ended up with a double-minor for high-sticking, although it certainly seemed like there’s a good argument that it was a follow-through of a shot (and thus not a penalty):
Nate Schmidt gets whacked in the face by Sam Lafferty, who's given a 4-minute penalty.— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 12, 2023
Is this not a follow through? Officials reviewed it and felt it wasn't. Weird. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/9H2ZmxcEfO
That was part of the reason why Winnipeg had an extended 5-on-3 and despite a valiant effort from the Blackhawks’ PK, Blake Wheeler scored when the Jets had just a one-man advantage to make it a 2-0 game:
Blake Wheeler redirects Kyle Connor's shot-pass into the back of the net on the power play, 2-0 Jets!#GoJetsGo pic.twitter.com/5dIFkcT1Pc— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 12, 2023
About four minutes later, Winnipeg put together some tic-tac-toe passing that ended with Mark Scheifele adding to his team lead on his 32nd goal of the season:
Mark Scheifele unloads on Wheeler's pass, extending the Winnipeg lead to 3 in the 2nd!#GoJetsGo pic.twitter.com/NLvyycc7uw— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 12, 2023
A three-goal lead for a team with a Vezina candidate in net facing one of the worst offensive teams in the league? Yeah, that was about it.
The Blackhawks did get one back in the third period on a Tyler Johnson goal:
Tyler Johnson puts Chicago on the board in the third period. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/FhqUPWbNkN— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 12, 2023
Winnipeg kept the Blackhawks from getting any closer throughout the rest of the period — by just about any means necessary:
OH NO pic.twitter.com/5X52djC1Ow— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 12, 2023
(Don’t worry, the Winnipeg player in that clip was Dylan Samberg and he finished the game.)
Wheeler added an empty-netter for his second goal of the game for the final score of the night.
- This game was always going to be a tough task for the Hawks, having played on Friday night in Chicago before flying to Winnipeg ahead of this game while the Jets hadn’t played since Jan. 30. It seemed like Winnipeg needed the first period to knock off its rust and by the end of the second period it seemed pretty evident that this was going to be two points for the home team. Hard to find reasons to get too upset about this result, given all the circumstances — most notably the Blackhawks’ own lack of interest in fielding a competitive team this season.
- There’s also nothing to be learned about the Blackhawks from this game, so let’s go elsewhere in the hockey world for the rest of this recap. Start off with the bottom of the NHL standings, where the Columbus Blue Jackets won, so the Blackhawks are now just one point ahead of CBJ but still with two games in hand.
- Next, we’ll leave the NHL ranks for that mitten-shaped state:
#Blackhawks first-round pick Frank Nazar scores his first NCAA goal for Michigan in just his second game. pic.twitter.com/Ra6MGsDoJ8— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 12, 2023
- Up next: the Pacific Northwest!
PING!— The WHL (@TheWHL) February 12, 2023
Kevin Korchinski tickles the back of the net and the @SeattleTBirds open the scoring!@NHLBlackhawks pic.twitter.com/6C9oEJMobi
- Back north of the border for a minute:
Gavin Hayes wins it for the @FlintFirebirds— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) February 12, 2023
The @NHLBlackhawks prospect scores off a sweet feed from @DetroitRedWings pick Amadeus Lombardi to seal the victory pic.twitter.com/vrnLff943b
- Just 31 games left, people. We’ll get there.
#NHL GameScore Impact Card for Chicago Blackhawks on 2023-02-11:#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/jIOTu4HRl1— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) February 12, 2023
- Blake Wheeler (WPG) — 2 goals
- Josh Morrissey (WPG) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) — 31 saves
The Blackhawks continue trekking across Canada with a game on Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens at 6 p.m.