Blackhawks cool the Jets 6-3 in Winnipeg

The Blackhawks started off strong in Winnipeg on Thursday night: commanding on the dot, strong defensively, and leading 1-0 after the first from a Patrick Kane laser shot.

Dustin Byfuglien would take a holding penalty for the Jets, followed by Duncan Keith taking a slashing penalty in order to prevent a goal. On the ensuing 4-on-4 play, Brandon Saad stretched the lead out to 2-0 just over 3 minutes into the second -- but the lead would last less than a minute.

Andrew Ladd would open up the scoring for Winnipeg 19 seconds after the Saad goal; and then, as the Byfulgien penalty expired, Keaton Ellerby put in his first of the year, a PPG, just 29 seconds later.

Jonathan Toews took the lead back with 11:03 left in the period. Dustin Byfuglien would be the next to score on his former teammates by tying up the game once more 2:25 later to make it 3-3.

After an undisciplined second, including five penalties and three goals given up, the Blackhawks buckled down in the third.

Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks the go-ahead goal 3:11 into the period; Ben Smith gave the team some insurance by scoring a couple minutes later to make it 5-3. Patrick Sharp nailed the game shut with an ENG with 0:55 remaining for the 6-3 win.

Early in the season, the Blackhawks struggled to score in the third. They turned that around, and now instead lead the league in third period goals.

The Blackhawks went 63% in the faceoff circle, and outshot the Jets 33-25.

Chicago will face the Canucks on Saturday night at Vancouver.

Three stars of the game:
1) Jonathan Toews (1G/3A/+4) - CHI
2) Andrew Ladd (1G/1A) - WPG
3) Marian Hossa (1G/1A/+3) - CHI


* * *

Follow us on Twitter at @TCLBlackhawks; follow me at @HockeyBroad