Ten Blackhawks on the scoreboard in 5-1 road win against the Jets

The Blackhawks were in Jonathan Toews’ hometown, Winnipeg, to play the Jets this afternoon, and a strong start to the second period gave them a solid lead which the Jets could never catch up on. The game ended 5-1 for the visitors, with 10 Blackhawks players with at least a point to their name by the time the game ended.

 

The MTS Centre was packed and pulsing as it welcomed the defending Stanley Cup Champions with a team raring to go, led by ex-Blackhawk Captain Andrew Ladd. The energy was high from both teams from puck drop, and the crowd was cheering and jeering equal amounts.

 

The Jets were ready and aggressive, which showed with the first goal of the game. Five minutes into the first frame, Tobias Enstrom shot through traffic and potted a goal for the Jets, one that goalie Corey Crawford tried to get dismissed as he called out for interference by Michael Frolik. However, it was deemed a good goal.

 

Niklas Hjalmarsson fired a shot straight from a faceoff win in the offensive zone to tie it up just five minutes later, after a 4-on-3 situation that started with a Brandon Bollig penalty, followed by Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien getting sent to the box. The Jets barely killed the penalty, with Hjalmarsson’s goal coming up on the next faceoff.

 

The second period started hard and fast, with Crawford making a huge stop on Devin Setoguchi, before Brandon Bollig rushed to the offensive zone and fired a snap shot that went in and gave the Blackhawks the goal ahead. It was Brandon Bollig’s second goal of the season, proving he’s earned his spot on the Blackhawks roster.

 

And not two minutes later, Nick Leddy forced a turnover that led to Patrick Sharp firing a wrist shot to the back of Ondrej Pavelec’s net, giving the Blackhawks a two-goal lead.

 

Just under six minutes into the 2nd frame, Nick Leddy fired a low slapshot straight into traffic in front of the net to score the Blackhawks’ fourth goal of the night and his second of the season.

 

After these three goals in under six minutes, though, the rhythm of the game slowed down, with the Blackhawks defending their lead while the Jets tried to get as many shots on goal as possible, leading the Blackhawks at the end of the 2nd period 21 shots to 17.

 

The third period started with the Jets rushing to crash the Blackhawks’ net, forcing a few strong saves from Crawford. Patrick Kane earned himself a penalty shot on a giveaway 8 minutes into the 3rd frame, but the puck bounced off the crossbar, denying him a goal in this game. Barely over a minute later, however, a wrist shot from the left side of the offensive zone from Ben Smith went straight in, making it a 5-1 game with a little over 10 minutes to go.

 

The Jets were unable to come back from such a deficit, or to even post another goal against the Blackhawks. The game ended with the 5-1 score, making it a solid win for the Blackhawks on the first part of their back-to-back.

 

Three stars of the game:

1st - Patrick Sharp

2nd - Jonathan Toews

3rd - Michael Frolik

 

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Tomorrow night, the Blackhawks are receiving the Flames for their first game of the season against Calgary (5-6-2). The Flames have suffered two straight losses and have just lost their captain, Mark Giordano, to a broken ankle, and Lee Stempniak with a broken foot.

 

The 2013 first round draft pick for the Flames, Sean Monahan, has been really hot for them, playing every game and recording 7 goals and 4 assists for the team. He follows right behind Jiri Hudler (5 goals, 10 assists).

 

On the Blackhawks side, the whole team has been strong, rallying after a few hard games. All four lines are producing, and the defense has been tight in front of the goalies, despite some lackluster performances from Nikolai Khabibulin. Coach Joel Quenneville said he wouldn’t put Khabibulin back in goal until the goaltender was feeling confident again.

 

The Blackhawks will hope for a strong back-to-back, while the Flames will be eager to stop their losing streak.

 

Game time is 6.30 p.m. CT and  can be seen live on CSN-CH, SNET-W and SNET-CGY.

 

Follow our Blackhawks writers at @TCLBlackhawks on Twitter, and you can find me at @hockeyfied.