By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
The Winnipeg Jets took off hot Thursday night, but eventually came back down to Earth, falling 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the re-incarnated franchise’s first road game of the 2011-12 NHL season.
Winnipeg’s Jim Slater scored twice early — just over three minutes apart in the games opening eight minutes — both on point-shot redirections from Johnny Oduya and Ron Hainsey, respectively.
Chicago responded with an Andrew Brunette power-play marker just two minutes later, before Patrick Kane tied the game late in the period.
Early second period goals from Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland made it 4-2 Hawks.
Late in the frame, Kyle Wellwood slipped a Ron Hainsey rebound past Chicago goaltender Ray Emery — a backhand between his legs that made it a one-goal game heading into the third.
The Jets rallied late, putting solid pressure on the Blackhawks, but Emery shut the door to seal the home-team victory in front of 21,175 fans at Chicago’s United Center.
Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec looked solid at times, and shaky at others, stopping 28-of-32 shots on the night. While denying several quality Blackhawk chances, the Jets’ starter let in a pair of questionable goals in the second.
“He did some things well, and some things not so well,” said head coach Claude Noel of his 24-year-old net-minder’s performance. “I’d give him a six out of ten.”
The Jets (0-2-0) continue their search for the team’s first victory when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes (1-1-1) on Saturday, before returning to the MTS Centre to face the Pittsburgh Penguins (3-0-2) on Monday night.
- For the second consecutive game, Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien led the Jets in shots (5)
- For the second consecutive game, Evander Kane saw limited ice time (10:34 vs. MTL, 14:43 vs. CHI)
- Mark Scheifele saw a significant drop in ice time (13:44 vs. MTL, 9:25 vs. CHI)
- Defenceman Ron Hainsey had two assists, and finished plus-1 on the night
- Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien finished a team-high plus-2 on the night with 0 points
- Despite winning 50% of Thursday’s faceoffs, the Jets lost nearly all of the draws at critical moments
- Claude Noel re-tooled his defensive pairings from Sunday’s game vs. MTL
- Noel began shuffling his forward lines in the third period
- In two starts, Ondrej Pavelec has a GAA of 4.58, and a Save % of .833
- Pavelec was pulled for the extra attacker with 1:28 remaining in the game
- Among the 7 NHL teams to only play 2 games so far this year, Winnipeg is the only team with zero points on the season.