Blackhawks Shoot Down Jets

After rattling off three straight wins – albeit not all three of them pretty – against three struggling teams at the United Center, the Blackhawks traveled to Winnipeg for a much stronger test on Thursday night. The Jets came in 11-2-1 at home and six points in front of the Hawks in the standings.

Chicago needed to start fast and get production from all over their roster, and that’s exactly what they got.

Vinnie Hinostroza got his first goal in the NHL this season at 1:50 into the first to get the party started.

Patrick Sharp picked up the assist on the Hinostroza goal.

With the third line on the board, Chicago’s fourth line stepped up next. Tommy Wingels stayed hot, scoring his fifth of the year at 6:08 into the first.

Lance Bouma and Ryan Hartman were initially credited with assists on the Wingels goal, but Hartman’s was taken away during the first intermission.

There’s no way the bottom two lines were going to get all of the action. Ten minutes into the first, Patrick Kane set up Duncan Keith for a blast from the point and Nick Schmaltz got a piece to slip it past Connor Hellebuyck and into the back of the Winnipeg net.

The goal, Schmaltz’s sixth of the year, gave Chicago three goals on their first five shots on net against Hellebuyck, who has been very good for the Jets all season.

Neither team had a power play in the first period and the Hawks finished the opening 20 minutes with a 12-6 shot advantage and a 3-0 lead on the scoreboard.

Of course, the fear is that the Blackhawks would take their foot off the gas and let a good Jets team back into the game after a dominant first period.

But that wasn’t the case in the second.

Chicago got a power play with Jacob Trouba in the box early in the second but – you guessed it – did nothing with the advantage. But six minutes after the power play ended Chicago’s second line got back into the mix.

Schmaltz outworked the Winnipeg defense to catch up to a loose puck in front of the net and made an absolutely ridiculous pass across the crease to Kane who put home the easy goal to extend the lead to four.

Chicago killed off a Jonathan Toews penalty later in the period before Andrew Copp decided to be stupid and take a roughing penalty.

The Blackhawks did nothing with their second power play of the game as well. I’m as shocked as you.

Chicago out-shot Winnipeg 10-8 in the second and carried a 4-0 lead to the third period. Corey Crawford’s game was on point once again, and the Hawks were showing speed all over the ice.

Schmaltz went to the box for tripping at 5:30 into the third and Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 15th of the season to end Crawford’s shutout bid and cut the lead to 4-1.

A little less than three minutes after the Ehlers goal, Michal Kempny – playing for the first time in 13 games – fired a missile into the back of the net to push the lead back to four.

Brent Seabrook was credited with the assist on the Kempny goal.

Patrik Laine took a frustration penalty, boarding Hinostroza at 12:48 but the Hawks wasted another advantage.

The rest of the way was all Crawford, who slammed the door shut as the Hawks ran away with a strong 5-1 victory in Winnipeg.

Schmaltz and Kane were the only Hawks with two points in the game. Seabrook led the way with four shots on net and four blocked shots. The Blackhawks were credited with two hits in the game, both from John Hayden (both in the first period).

Crawford allowed only one goal, the tenth time this season he’s allowed one or fewer goals in a game; he stopped 27 of 28 in the win. Half of Winnipeg’s shots came in the third period.

Kempny skated 16:30 with three shots on goal and was plus-three in the game. Chicago is now 7-6-1 in Kempny games this year.

Wingels’ goal held up as the game-winner.

37 thoughts on “Blackhawks Shoot Down Jets

  1. I wondered if the Hawks could keep it going against a much better team and they sure did. Everyone had a good game, and hats off to Kempny, Hino, and Osterle. All three played well tonight and they were all good soldiers when came to time in the press box or in the Rock. One of, if not the best efforts of the season.

  2. An argument can be made that Crow is now the best player on the team. His consistent high level of play is allowing us to build some confidence with these wins. What a quiet rock he is.

  3. Although I am having trouble figuring out this team, I like that the kids are playing with a high confidence level and it seems to be rubbing off on the vets. Over the last couple of weeks, Seabrook and Keith seem to have stabilized their game and are both playing more consistently and making better decisions.

    Crow is the best player on the team and the most underrated goalie in the league. He really doesn’t rise to the occasion, he is the same EVERY game……….consistent and stable.

    If the powerplay ever gets going this Hawks team could be very dangerous.

    Let’s take care of business against the Wild on Sunday.

  4. Great having 4 lines rolling , Vinny and Wingman looking good . Beauty by Kempny ,and the train keeps on a rolling .

    Crow is the man ,.,.,best stats in the league ?

  5. We won more puck battles than we lost tonight. Much better in puck handling and crisper passing. The keystones of possession hockey.

    Very encouraged that we aren’t a one line team anymore. Last game was the top line and this game the third and fourth lines produced.

    In general I still think we rely far too much on Crawford. But we have a new assistant coach and lots of kids on the back end. Very possible that our defense-first possession game gels over the next 4 months. If Murray rounds into form watch out!

  6. Boy was I wrong! I really felt like the Jets would take it to the Hawks tonight, instead it was the Hawks who probably played their best game of the year. Great team effort. Crow was solid, Seabs looked good and Kempny with a goal was a+3. Very impressed all around!

  7. Let me start by saying that I was wrong about bringing up Highmore over Hinostroza. The kid has solidified a revolving door center on the third line. The chemistry is already there.
    As always, that 4th line is a real strength for Q. The 1st line is stabilizing although, it’s odd to have Debrincat on the left and Saad on the right. Hey, if it works. The weird thing is that the 1st line can afford to be shut down because the other 3 lines produce. At some point that will free up the 1st line.
    I wonder if Anisimov is being shopped around. He’s a decent 2nd line guy, but, could the Blackhawks deal for someone better? We’re seeing that Oesterle can play. Kempny can play. Franson has his merits with that shot. He just lacks speed. Murphy and Seabrook are reviving each others value. They just work really well together. All of this makes me wonder if, with this defensive depth, will a trade be made?
    This was a really well played game. Yes, the PP is still silent. But, as was said, they’ve changed things up and are bringing the traffic to the net. Let’s give this some time.
    All in all, we wanted the Blackhawks to bring up the kids and let them develop, ala the Penguins. It’s working. Debrincat is on the top line and producing. Schmaltz is on the 2nd line and producing. Hinostroza and Hartman are on the 3rd line and producing. As is Hayden. Defensively, we’re really solidifying. As everyone else has mentioned, Crawford is the strongest player for the Blackhawks.
    Let’s see how this ride plays out. Panik can eat popcorn in the pressbox. I like the guys we have on the ice.

  8. In his post-game presser, Q said he liked the first 40 minutes but no so much the last 20 minutes. Who am I to question Q’s observation, but I thought, on the whole, it was the best 60 minutes they’ve played since they caught the Pens napping in Game-1. There were no passengers tonight – every player played with great effort and execution tonight. When the Hawks play like that they are a very good team – unfortunately they haven’t been able to play like that very often. But, it looks like they’re gaining some confidence so maybe they can get on a little bit of a roll here.

    With Minnesota, they will face another fast and good forechecking team so the Hawks will need to play at the same level as they did tonight to beat the Wild.

    Go Hawks ! ! ! !

  9. Great win. Day off tomorrow. Hopefully a good day of practice Saturday and a big effort Sunday.
    So Oesterle is Keith’s new partner and it’s working. Kempny had a super game.
    I go with the same lineup Sunday. No reason to squeeze Franson back in. If Rutta has a concussion, let him take the necessary time off to get the cobwebs out.

  10. As the late great Chris Farley once said “that was awesome!”. Big one last night and the Hawks sure came to play. Looked like all hands on deck for sure as there were no holes in that effort last night. Lots of jump for 3 periods, attention to back checking, good zone clears, and they went to the net. Passing was super crisp and they didn’t fumble pucks. The Hawks played with confidence for 3 periods resulting in the best performance of the year imo. I am throwing out the 1st Pens game as a fun to watch fluke.

    While most of us viewed the previous 3 games as points happily taken, it was the 3rd periods where the Hawks went after it. Coming from behind or breaking open a tie game helps to build confidence when a team gets that kind of win.

    All 4 lines last night played well. D pairings were solid and hello Mr Kempny! Welcome back #6. So far this past week we have seen the insertion of Oesterle and now Kempny to round out what is looking like a much more solid back line. So Q now has choices to make. None of the d men dressed or sitting could be called sluggos at this time. It is a work in progress and it has been fun to watch this evolve. Remember the doubts when the season began?

    I too felt last year that Hinostroza was a fast straight line guy that wasn’t really progressing. Reading about his progress though from posters on this board that were watching Hogs games this year were saying otherwise, and that he really was playing well. Some guys just need the time to develop, and from what I have seen in this brief stint back with the big club, the kid has really grown as player. Along with Vinny, young Hawks that have cracked the lineup are showing good upside both offensively and defensively. Last night gave us a glimmer of what this tram can do. I don’t care if the Hawks jumped a flat Jets team. They kept the gas pedal down.

    So far this season, apart from the Caps debacle this Hawks team has played quality teams very tough on the road.

    If Crow can stay healthy good things can still come to this team. Minny next.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  11. It is evident, and clear & convincingly, that once Franson is healthy, he can take a permanent seat in the press box. He is a capable 7th or 8th D-man, but he is not one of the top 6 Hawks’ D-men. And it’s not even close.

    Speaking thereof, I don’t care who shoots left or right, Kempny proved last night against a quick, skilled high-paced opponent — despite missing 13 consecutive games — he is one of the Hawks’ top 6 D-men. He has the skillset, and the upside to his game is on par w/ Forsling. Forsling & Kempny would make an outstanding duo, all Kempny needs is the same instilled confidence and playing time Forsling received to take his game to another level. Kempny has high-end potential.

    Rutta has been OK, but he his overall play hasn’t merited Kempny being relegated to not playing for over an entire month. Last I checked or observed, Rutta is not Larry Robinson or Guy Lapointe reincarnated; his game has regressed — albeit slightly not dramatically — since the beginning of the season. If Q is adamant (and he probably will be knowing his affection for certain players) about playing Rutta regularly 100% of the time, then Oesterle will have to take a seat again.

  12. Sorry, meant team not tram in my post. Yikes.

    I listened to some post game comments from Oesterle recently and he had high praise for the Hawks training staff and coaches for keeping the guys not playing regularly in good shape and mentally strong. It is clear that this has also been the case with Kempny given his strong showing last night.

    Nice to see some depth in the Hawks D corps as he head to mid season. There will be injuries.

    Now if they could just fix that power play……

    Lets Go Hawks!

  13. Iceman you are dead right. Franson is 7th or 8th while the young guys develop. No need for him to bring his slow feet into the lineup. He gave us a spark when we needed it ala Brent Sopel and he’s a nice veteran both in the room and when called upon.
    Tho I disagree on 44 as he is an integral part of this DCorp and will be welcomed back to the lineup when he is healthy. Yes 6 should play leaving 11 &82 as the swing men.
    Assuming we make the playoffs; a deeper DCorps allows us to maybe rest guys like 7 down the stretch for a long playoff run or the inevitable injuries throughout the season.
    Phil, I love the comments about Osterle and the assistants and trainers keeping them fresh. I think Ulfie has been a big upgrade on the bench for his part w DMen and on the Kill. They may have taken awhile to gel but have been noticeably better as the season has progressed so Again props to Ulfie.
    Nice effort up and down the lineup. A few pretty aweful 3rd period giveaways that Crow bailed us out on is prob why Q lamented the last 20 mins.
    Not even debatable; Crow is definitely MVP of this team thus far. It was almost more noticeable when Forseberg was in because the Hawk do have these occasional lapses and bad turnovers that he WAS NOT stopping and Crow does.
    Just gotta take this schedule in segments and start to make up points. Gotta take Minny this weekend and we really owe Big D in the next one. Then we go from there.
    Go Hawks!

  14. While the kudos go to Kempny for stepping in and playing well after a long layoff, and rightfully so, Murphy deserves some positive attention too. After the Hjalmarsson trade took us all by surprise, the thought was bigger, younger, more cost controlled – OK, let’s see what he’s got. Well, to say he was underwhelming is as complimentary as I can be, By mid way through November the trade was not looking good for the Hawks. But over the past month or so the trade is looking better – he not only has played better in the d-zone, he has made the right reads when jumping into the o-zone, shown he has a pretty good shot AND switched and played well at LD for several games. That last point is important – it’s a luxury to have a d-man that can play well on either side. So, kudos to Murphy – he’s been looking good lately.

  15. Agree Ebony…5 is playing true to his own strengths and his improvement is very noticeable. I will say again, props to Ulfie for this but in the end the players still,gotta play and 5 has looked very solid on both sides of the ice. His size and potential nastiness seam to rear their head at just the right times as well lately.

  16. Hope Stan does not do something stupid and destroy the building chemistry of the current players. Panik for a 3rd round draft choice would be a good option.

  17. @ Iceman:

    Agree on Kempny. Q has always had him on a short leash. Not sure why.

    Last year I thought he did reasonably well. He over commits at times and seems a bit unlucky as well, but he competes hard on defense and is very good at jumping into the play. I expected him to stay in the top 6 this year but that didn’t last. More recently Osterle plays ahead of him, which I found disappointing (although Osterle did okay).

    Let’s hope Kempny gets a real chance this time. He gets pucks to the net too (it won’t happen but he just might bring something to the PP).

  18. Interesting story popped up today in the MLB realm that has NHL implications…and it may explain the projected salary cap jump.

    BamTech, an MLB entity was sold to Disney. Each MLB owner is said to get 50 million. When the NHL sold to BamTech, the league also acquired some stake in the entity. So the craziness of the 82 million dollar cap is an actual reality.

  19. At that time it was pending federal approval. Disney originally bought in for a billion. With an option to buy more in following years. Which they did in August. Another 1.5 billion. They now own a 75% stake with mlb owning 15%. The MLB owners are to each get a check in q1 for between 50 and 68 million depending on the source. I would imagine that’s where all the revenue is coming from. Exchange rates haven’t changed that drastically, and I don’t think ad revenue has increased that much. The league’s new uniform contract helped. Reebok was paying 35 million a year. Adidas, which owns Reebok will be paying the league reportedly double that. So that’s a little over a million extra on the cap just in that.

    Makes you wonder if ESPN, especially after having the World Cup will make a bigger push for coverage in 2021. NBC’s broadcast in general, along with some of their personalities (not all) are lacking. ESPN brought the ref cam…which was absolutely fantastic. And NBC hasn’t been able to pull that off yet. So maybe ESPN wouldn’t be that bad?

  20. Unfortunately for us Kempny supporters, this is the second year the Hawks have jerked him around. There is no way he re-signs with the Hawks as a UFA. Unless, something drastically changes.

    I spoke with a Blackhawks employee this past off-season who told me point blank it was a “mistake” to reacquire Oduya and that in the post Nashville analysis all agreed that Kempny should have played instead. He then said Kempny is the “real deal” and we will be seeing that this season.

    Hmmmm, somehow that sentiment is not shared by Q.

  21. Could have told you acquiring Oduya part deux (ditto for Sharp for that matter) was a mistake. Oh wait…i actually did say that.

    I’ve always liked Kempny. He did have an illness for a bit. But that was after he started being a scratch. Rutta’s emergence and having to play Franson has handcuffed the coaching staff.

  22. I was happy to see Kempny play as if he didn’t worry about going back to Qs doghouse. He played his game. If he can do that without making to many Qstakes he may just stick around a while.

    Kempny and Osterle gives the Hawks a chance to rest Seabs every now and then.

  23. It’s baffling to see the Hawks yo yo with their effort and consistency this year. This was a super fun game to watch, but I couldn’t really tell if the Hawks were making the Jets look bad or if the Jets were taking their foot off the gas because they didn’t respect a struggling Hawks squad. Either way it was fun to watch the Hawks put a beat down on another strong team.

  24. 4 honest to goodness centers and a strong 4th line has been a good predictor of success for the hawks in the past. I hope 48’s ready and able, he’s looking decent so far.

  25. Miro I donot think outplaying NYR PIT TB even FLR ANA NAS WIN that any of those teams were taking us lightly. Before those games many people said we see what kind of team we have during those sections of games like that. Well I think a 4-0-1 start answers any doubt.

    MIN should be tuffer then DAL this time.

  26. Miro nothing against what you said. That we have played good against top 10 teams won more then got beat against those teams. Thats including when we didnt play good and with that bullshit sch. The sch. is much more normal during these 29 games then it was for the first 25 games.

  27. I beg to differ……….teams still put forth their best effort against the Hawks. The 3 cups in 6 years and the veteran group of leaders STILL makes other teams play their best and try to knock the Hawks off their pedestal.

    No team in the NHL takes their foot off the gas against the Hawks.

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