WINNIPEG, MB. - The Winnipeg Jets showed fight to the very end but it wasn’t enough as the Chicago Blackhawks (22-16-6) hung on for a 2-1 win. For the Jets, it was their first regulation loss in seven games (6-0-1) and snapped their three-game winning streak.
Blackhawks rookie David Kampf celebrated his birthday by scoring his first career goal, redirecting a Connor Murphy point shot to open the scoring in the second period.
Jan Rutta doubled the Blackhawks lead with his fifth of the season on a shot from the side wall that snuck through Connor Hellebuyck, who finished with 25 saves on the night. It was Hellebuyck’s first loss in regulation since a 5-1 loss against the Blackhawks in Winnipeg on Dec. 14. He had been 7-0-2 in that stretch.
Winnipeg (26-12-7), is the highest scoring team in the Western Conference this season with 151 goals, would eventually beat Blackhawks goaltender Jeff Glass. Patrik Laine stepped over the blueline and snapped a shot that beat Glass clean just under the crossbar, giving Laine his 20th goal of the season and cutting the lead to 2-1 with just under four minutes left. Laine now has goals in consecutive games after failing to find the back of the net in the previous seven games.
Laine had a chance to tie the game in the final minute but a beautiful right pad save by Glass kept the Blackhawks up by one. Blake Wheeler, who came into the game riding a seven-game point streak, rang a shot off the goalpost with 25 seconds left, and the Blackhawks would escape with a 2-1 win.
Glass picked up his third career win and improves to 3-1-1 since being called up to fill in for injured starting netminder Corey Crawford.
Anthony Duclair made his Blackhawks debut on Friday night, finishing with an assist. Duclair was acquired from Arizona on Wednesday as , acquired from Arizona on Wednesday as part of a four-player trade which saw Richard Panik leave Chicago for the desert.
Winnipeg will now travel to Minnesota to face the Wild Saturday night before they begin their bye week. They’ll return to action Saturday, January 20th on the road in Calgary before returning to Bell MTS Place to face the Vancouver Canucks Sunday, January 21st.
Blake Wheeler’s seven-game point streak comes to an end.
Patrick Laine hits the 20-goal mark with a beautiful snap shot with just under four minutes left in the third period.
Bill Burfoot, Manitoba Post