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Blackhawks Take a Nosedive in 5-1 Loss to the Jets

By Ericka McFee
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Dec 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Daniel Carcillo (13) and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jay Harrison (23) fight during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Blackhawks Take a Nosedive in 5-1 Loss to the Jets

What a crazy week it has been for the Chicago Blackhawks. They return home from a tough shootout loss on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets only to learn that an integral part of their team, Assistant Equipment Manager Clint Reif, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Still in shock, they dusted themselves off, donned his initials on their helmets, and pulled off a commanding victory at the United Center against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But with a few days off between games, the exhaustion set in – not only in a physical sense from having played 3 games in 4 days, but also from the weight of emotion that comes after losing someone near and dear to the team. A tired Hawks team was handily beat from start to finish by an upward-trending Winnipeg squad and had their eight-game home win streak broken.

Here’s the breakdown of the action:

FIRST PERIOD

The game started well for the Hawks, but after just a couple of minutes, the Jets turned on the afterburner and never looked back. The Jets scored three goals in this period alone, each by a different player, and all within the span of about 5 minutes. The Jets enjoyed a significant SOG advantage of 15-7 in the period.

Coach Quenneville pulled goalie Corey Crawford in favor of Antti Raanta after the third goal, hoping it would give the team a spark. It didn’t do much good in terms of offense, but at least the Jets were kept from scoring again for the rest of the period.

Hawk Daniel Carcillo and Jet Jay Harrison got into a fight, but Harrison tossed Carbomb around like he was a rag doll and won handily. Both got 5-minute fighting majors.

SECOND PERIOD

The Hawks finally played with a bit more urgency in the middle frame, but still had a nearly impossible task in solving Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson despite putting an additional 20 pucks on net (while keeping the Jets to only 7 shots on goal).

Brent Seabrook was called for a bogus holding penalty, giving the Jets a power play that the Hawks uncharacteristically allowed them to score on and increasing their deficit to 4-1.

A few minutes later, Marian Hossa finally scored. Unfortunately, the breakthrough didn’t give the Hawks enough of a jump to rally and get back in the game.

THIRD PERIOD

The Jets received one final power play due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Kris Versteeg, but fortunately the Hawks managed to kill that one. Later on in the period, the Hawks finally got their turn on the power play – twice, in fact – but couldn’t convert.

For some inexplicable reason, Coach Q pulled Raanta with about 5 minutes to go, giving the Jets an opportunity to score an empty netter, and put the coup de grâce on their 5-1 thumping of the Hawks.

  • Michal Rozsival was injured sometime during the 2nd period and did not return to the game for the 3rd. After the game, Coach Q said Rozy will probably be okay.
  • Thanks to the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues dropping their games in the same evening, the Blackhawks retain the lead in the Central Division standings (2 pts. head of the Preds, but with 2 games in hand).
  • The NHL will have the next 3 days off for the Christmas holiday, so the next game won’t be until next Saturday (12/27) when they face the Avalanche in Denver.

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