The Blackhawks didn’t get the memo that their Christmas break didn’t start until Wednesday and the Winnipeg Jets were happy to hand them a loss on home ice.
Winnipeg put three goals on the board in the game’s first 15:30 and Corey Crawford was shown the door. Mathieu Perreault and Bryan Little took advantage of nice screens from Johnny Oduya to beat Crawford, and Anthony Peluso was the the end of the night for Chicago’s starter. Crawford faces 13 shots and watched the skaters in front of him give the puck away with uncommon frequency.
Antti Raanta came in and allowed a power play goal to Perreault, his second of the night and eighth of the season, in the second period. When coach Joel Quenneville pulled Raanta with five minutes remaining in regulation, Blake Wheeler found the empty net for his tenth of the season and closed the books on one of the most boring, mediocre performances of the season from the Hawks.
Marian Hossa was the only Hawk to get pissed about the performance. He scored the team’s only goal in the second period and threw a Jets player off his back as he carried the puck up the ice moments later. Unfortunately, nobody other than Hossa came to play.
Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked four shots and Oduya led the team with five. Hjalmarsson led the team with two takeaways, but that pair left a lot to be desired; Oduya and Hjalmarsson tied for the team’s worst 5-on-5 Corsi For at minus-five each.
Michal Rozsival didn’t take a shift in the third period, but Quenneville indicated he “should be ok” after the game.
Andrew Shaw won 12 of 13 faceoffs and Jonathan Toews won 14 of 25 in the loss. Brandon Saad was credited with the only assist on Hossa’s goal.
Also on Tuesday night, USA Hockey faced Sweden in their final tune-up for the upcoming World Junior Championships. After a dominant 10-5 win that saw Blackhawks prospects Tyler Motte score twice and Nick Schmaltz add a goal of his own, the US announced their final roster for the tournament.
There are four Blackhawks prospects among the 13 forwards on the final roster: Motte, Schmaltz, Anthony Louis and John Hayden, who was named an alternate captain earlier in the day.
All four of the forwards are playing college hockey this season. Hayden, Motte and Louis were drafted in the third, fourth and sixth rounds of the 2013 Draft, respectively, while Schmaltz was the first round selection of the Blackhawks this past summer.