In their last game at the United Center until the first week of March, the Blackhawks gave away two points to the visiting Winnipeg Jets.
The Hawks’ defense was stellar in the first 40 minutes. Chicago held Winnipeg without a shot on net for the first 10 minutes in both periods, and the Jets managed only six shots on Corey Crawford through two periods. Meanwhile, the Hawks were credited with 27 shots and Brandon Bollig scored only 81 seconds into the game.
But in the third, the wheels came off. Sloppy passing led to a number of high quality chances that the Jets were able to convert, and the Hawks lost 3-1 to a Jets team that is surging after a coaching change.
Blake Wheeler tied the game for Winnipeg at 8:16 into the third, and Andrew Ladd received a perfect pass from… Marian Hossa… to score the game-winning goal at 12:53. Wheeler added an empty-net goal, his 21st of the year, with 75 seconds remaining in regulation.
Credit has to be given to Al Montoya for being the star of the game. He made 34 saves, many of which were against quality scoring chances, and only let in one awkward goal to Bollig early in the game. Crawford stopped 18 of 20 in the loss.
The Jets were credited with 53 hit in the game, led by eight from Dustin Byfuglien. Evander Kane, Devin Setoguchi and Wheeler were credited with seven each. Byfuglien exchanged words with almost all of his former teammates during the game, and took jabs at a number of Blackhawks after the whistle.
Chicago was unsuccessful on all three power play opportunities.
Coach Joel Quenneville scratched forward Bryan Bickell, opting to skate Michael Kostka 13 shifts as a forward instead. Kostka saw only 7:26 and Michal Handzus was on the ice for only 8:14 in the loss.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Morin scored twice to lead a third period comeback as the IceHogs won in overtime in Milwaukee on Sunday night, and Brandon Pirri had two assists in the IceHogs 2-1 win over the Admirals on Saturday night.
The Hawks are back on the ice in Calgary on Tuesday night.