After escaping Minnesota with two points on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks jumped over the wall and into Canada on Friday night to take on the Jets. Since the All-Star break, the Hawks have found a little bit of a groove of late, after a loss in San Jose to open the annual Ice Show Trip. Winners of their last three, two of which were against divisional opponents, the Hawks faced another division foe in the Jets tonight. With Friday being the first of a back to back, Corey Crawford got the nod in net for the Hawks, looking to improve on his recent resurgence following his appendectomy in December.
In what's become a nice change of late, the Hawks once again came out of the gate strong to start the game. It also doesn't hurt when your opponent takes two penalties in the opening ten minutes. Nothing like killing the momentum of the home crowd. Nevertheless, the Hawks took advantage of the Jets mistakes, and peppered the net with sixteen shots in the opening period. Despite going scoreless on those two power play opportunities, it was the Hawks who found the net first. With the minutes winding down, the #AK72Line put the Hawks ahead on a beautiful one timer from Panarin to Kane to head into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
As good of a start the Hawks had in the first period, the second period was nothing like that. The Jets capitalized on the sluggish Hawks, and tied the game in the first two minutes of the second period. As the period went on, the Hawks eventually found their legs and their pace they had to open the game. Just past the midway point of the game, the #AK72Line struck again. This time it was a reverse of the one timer in the first period. Kane fed the puck to Panarin, who teed one up, but was denied. Unfortunately for the Jets, Anisimov had his ass parked in front of the Jets net, and put home the rebound to give the Hawks their lead back. Down the stretch the Jets had a couple of chances to tie the game, but Corey Crawford stood tall, and once again, the Hawks took a one goal lead into the intermission.
In the third period, both teams clamped down on the opportunities in the first half of the period and a defensive struggle ensued. That style of play changed in the second half of the period. With third period meltdowns being a theme this season for the Hawks, it looked like we were going to be treated to another tonight. With just over six minutes remaining, Niklas Hjalmarsson opened the door for the Jets by taking a penalty. Luckily for Hammer, the penalty kill came through and preserved the Hawks lead. In the final three minutes all scoring hell broke loose. Duncan Keith put the Hawks up by two with a bomb from the blueline to make it a 3-1 game. Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin added empty netters for good measure to even out a late Jets goal, and sent the Hawks out of Winnipeg winners by the score of 5-2.