WINIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each had one goal and one assist, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on Friday night.
Paul Stastany, Neil Pionc and Dominic Toninato also scored in Winnipeg’s fourth consecutive home win. Andrew Copp assisted with three goals for the Jets, who have made their best start in the team’s modern era in the regular season (6–2–2).
“You want to grow up (as much as possible) as a part of the team,” Copp said. “I think we’ve had a good group here for a long time, it seems. We’ve added a few pieces this year that feel like we round out the group very well, so how we play and We take a lot of ownership of how we perform.”
Eric Comrie blocked 16 shots, losing a bid for the first shutout of his career to Mackenzie Entwistle’s short-handed goal in the opening minute of the third period.
“It would be cool, this would be my first NHL shutout, something I’m looking forward to,” Comrie said. “I’d be mad to say it’s not going through my mind… but I’m just trying to focus on the moment and the game, focusing on the process.
“It was a good play by them. I was trying to steal the post. It was a bang for the guy straight off the backboard. We have a weird play on our power play, so it’s unfortunate.”
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves as the Blackhawks lost for the 11th time in 12 games (1-9-2).
“It’s been a tough one for the players, the stretch we’re going through,” said Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton. “We’ve put in some good performances for which we haven’t been rewarded, and it’s up to you. There’s no excuse. We can’t give ourselves a chance to win when you have the kind of performance we did today. Night done. But all we can do is move on to the next one and come out with the same level of energy and competition and do a better job.”
Stastany finished a three-way passing sequence with Koop and Ehlers just 47 seconds after the opening faceoff and put Winnipeg on the scoreboard first.
Pionc beat Fleury with a swift shot from the faceoff dot for a power-play goal at 2:23.
The Blackhawks thought a power-play goal had pulled them within a goal at the start of the second, but Ryan Carpenter’s effort was negated when the Jets successfully challenged for offside on the play. It was the second straight game in which Winnipeg successfully challenged for offside and reversed a goal.
Toninato earned his first decking flair on the feed from the coop and made it 3-0 in the second with 6:12 remaining.’
Connor left 4:43 in mid-term to give the Jets a 4–0 lead as he winged and wired a shot by Fleury for the team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Ehlers scored his third late in the third session, when Entwistle’s shot from a difficult angle surprised Comrie less than a minute into the period.
Winnipeg was missing top goalkeeper Conor Hellebuch, who was ill but did not test positive for COVID-19, the Jets said on Friday. Mikhail Burdin was called in from the Manitoba Moose of the AHL to support Comrie.
Blackhawks: Host Nashville on Sunday.
The Jets: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.
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