The names on the score sheet were different than usual, and that’s a good thing.
After coming off another game in which the Blackhawks’ second line contributed most of the points, the team’s top line joined the fun on Sunday afternoon.
Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Teuvo Teravainen scored the game-winner as the Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 at the United Center.
It was a game of highs – Patrick Kane establishing a franchise-record 22-game point streak and Bryan Bickell returning after a month-long stint in Rockford and a scary low – defenseman Trevor Daley suffering an upper-body injury and nearly needing a stretcher to take him off the ice. Coach Joel Quenneville said he should know more about Daley’s status on Monday.
Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 31 shots for the victory. Artemi Panarin scored the empty-net goal, with Kane getting the primary assist to extend his point streak.
As far as the Blackhawks, they needed more from everyone offensively. On Sunday, they got it. The top line of Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Teravainen is looking better and provided critical points against the Jets.
“At times it was lacking some speed and some chemistry, but it’s one of those games in our division you have to pick up points,” Crawford said. “We had some other guys who started rolling, our third and fourth lines playing good hockey and our [defense] was solid tonight, moving the puck and getting it out. It’s just one of those games that, after losing a couple, you needed to win at home.”
The Blackhawks’ lines looked as balanced tonight as they have in some time. Bickell brought the necessary energy and hits – his one on former teammate Dustin Byfuglien was most notable – in his first game with the Blackhawks since October. The fourth line of Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger and Ryan Garbutt had several good scoring chances, including a Kruger attempt that was eventually ruled no goal due to a distinct kicking motion.
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Still, it was a 1-1 game heading into the third period. Teravainen then took a high pass from Duncan Keith, batted it down, shot and scored for a 2-1 lead just 21 seconds into the third period. It was Teravainen’s first goal since Nov. 4.
“Just get the puck from the air, put it down and I tried to shoot right away,” Teravainen said. “It wasn’t the hardest shot but I just tried to shoot it.”
It worked. A good deal worked for the Blackhawks against a physical Jets team on Sunday. They may have found some lines off which they can build, and the victory was a necessary one for a team trying to keep pace in the Central Division.
“There are a lot of teams that are big and physical and their game is to try to wear you down,” Quenneville said. “We don’t want to change how we play to be effective, and you get rewarded when you play like that.”