For most of the first period the Jets played the Blackhawks shot for shot, earned a couple of power plays but failed to score. Then they saw the high powered Blackhawks offence connect for two goals in the final three minutes for a 2-0 lead.
Chicago came into the game scoring 26 times in their previous six games.
When these teams met at MTS Centre Saturday, the Jets kept Jonathan Toews off the score sheet snapping his five game point streak. After going pointless against Calgary on Sunday, Toews opened the scoring in this game slipping a back hand shot through the pads of Al Montoya at 17:29. It was his eighth of the year.
With the first period coming to an end, Patrick Kane (9th) was allowed to close in on Montoya and fired one inside the far post to make it 2-0. The goal came at 19:54. Chicago outshot the Jets 12-11 in the opening period and going 0-2 on the power play again makes special teams a big part of the game.
The Blackhawks welcomed Mikael Frolik back to Chicago during a commercial break in the first period. Frolik was part of the Stanley Cup winning team last spring, and received a standing ovation. Frolik acknowledged the crowd with a wave from the bench.
Evander Kane took the pre-game skate but did not dress.
Kane declared himself ready after the morning skate but Coach Claude Noel elected to give his injury a little more time to heal.
For Montoya, it was his second straight start. He grew up in Chicago and said Tuesday he would very much enjoy playing in his home town.
If not for some great saves by Montoya, and the Blackhawks Patrick Sharp finding iron on two chances, the second period could have been a complete disaster. As it was the Jets gave up another late goal as 40 minutes ended 3-0 Chicago.
The Jets were badly outshot in the first 15 minutes of the period, many of the Blackhawks chances coming on the two power plays they had. After the second successful penalty kill, the Jets did create some chances and seemed to be gaining momentum until Brandon Pirri got in behind the Jets defence, went in alone and wired a shot just under the cross bar for the 3-0 lead. Hawks outshot the Jets 11-7 in the middle frame.
Early in the third the Jets again created some chances but a turnover in their own zone, ended with Patrick Sharp's fourth of the year making it a 4-0 game.
Coach Noel reunited Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler in the third and also changed up two of his defence pairings, Keaton Ellerby with Dustin Byfuglien and Grant Clitsome with Adam Pardy. Toby Enstrom and Zach Bogosian remained together.
The Jets got on the scoreboard with Devin Setoguchi snapping a 13 game goalless stretch with his third of the year. Byfuglien picked up his team leading 10th assist on the play, while initially it appeared as though Ellerby had picked up his first point, they reviewed the goal and it showed an Olli Jokinen tip before it got to Setoguchi. Hawks outshot the Jets 28-25.
Post-game Coach Noel further addressed the Kane situation saying decisions made are based on what is best for the player. "Players always want to play. It's up to us to look out for the welfare of the player." As for Kane playing Friday, "We'll assess tomorrow, talk to the training staff and go from there."
As for the game, Coach Noel showed concern as some of the mistakes made "were the same mistakes we made against them Saturday. You shoot yourself in the foot and it's in your net. They are a team that can finish. They've scored nine on us in two games."
After the win against the Detroit Red Wings, the Jets were again unable to win back to back games. They have not won two in a row since the start of the NHL season.
Again the Jets did some good things but turnovers and mental mistakes against Chicago are costly.
How would a power play goal in the first period have changed the game?
Mark Scheifele was the Jets best face off man at 50%. Tangradi and Byfuglien each had four shots on goal and at 26:20 Byfuglien lead in ice time.
There will be two home games for the Jets this weekend, Nashville in Winnipeg Friday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) and San Jose Sunday. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).