Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien had not been back in Chicago since they helped lead the Blackhawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. Yet here they were, skating on familiar ice, but for the opposing team as part of the new Winnipeg Jets.
The visiting team got right down to business in the first, with center Jim Slater scoring a pair of goals just 3 minutes apart. If the first half of the period was any indication of the rest of the game to come, it could easily go without saying that the Blackhawks would fall to their former teammates. The second goal could have been prevented; no Blackhawks defenseman could be found around their own net as Slater skated right towards it.
But minutes later, the Hawks retaliated, and it was Andrew Brunette (who, coincidentally, was one of the players on the roster for the very first Atlanta Thrashers game ever) who cut the deficit in half.
Thankfully, the home team didn’t stop there. A beautiful feed from Marian Hossa –which involved him practically skating right over the Jets’ Toby Enstrom– to Patrick Kane resulted in a one-timer that found the back of net.
Hossa then added a goal of his own in the second, assisted by Kane, and Dave Bolland flipped a wristshot past Ondrej Pavalec to double the lead.
The Jets’ Kyle Wellwood soon found himself on a breakaway with a chance to get his team caught up, but took a tumble on his way to the net and lost the puck. Wellwood was, however, able to redeem himself with a backhanded goal late in the second.
The scoreboard tally did not increase in the third, though not for a lack of trying on both ends of the ice. The shots on goal were 11-8 for the Jets. Ray Emery made a couple of outstanding saves to hold on to the lead, and when the final buzzer sounded, the Blackhawks walked away with the victory, leaving the Jets without a win since the start of the season.
With the way the Hawks were playing in the first few minutes of the game, it seemed like the team was about to send Joel Quenneville right back to the hospital judging from the look on his face behind the bench. But his worries were quelled soon enough as his famed offense began to light up.
The Blackhawks have now won 2 of their last 3 games and will take on the current Stanley Cup champions the Boston Bruins at home on Saturday.
About the Author
Written by Anna Santiago
26-year old sports writer from Calgary, Alberta. A hockey and basketball lover above all.