Blackhawks down Jets

Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec makes a point-blank save against Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell at...

Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec makes a point-blank save against Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell at the United Centre in Chicago, Ill., Oct. 13, 2011. (FRANK POLICH/Reuters)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:57 AM ET

CHICAGO - The Winnipeg Jets got another lesson on what it’s like to hang with — but not beat — an NHL playoff team on Thursday night.

Facing a team that is just over a year removed from capturing the Stanley Cup, the Jets got another reality check as they fell 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks before a sellout crowd of 21,175 at the United Center.

The Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was eight-minutes old on a pair of goals from fourth-line centre Jim Slater but it didn’t last long.

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville promptly called timeout after the second Jets goal, addressed his team for 30 seconds to calm things down and lo and behold, the Blackhawks responded.

The road to recovery began shortly after a tripping minor to Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom, who was forced to haul down Blackhawks sniper Patrick Kane after the speedster blew past him in the offensive zone.

Andrew Brunette scored on the ensuing power play and the Blackhawks eventually pulled even at 16:50 as Kane ripped a one-timer past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

“You get up 2-0 and you’d like to think you could hold onto it for a while but it’s like golf,” Jets head coach Claude Noel said. “It’s 18 holes, you’re not done after the first three. It’s a 60-minute game and you’ve got to play it through.

“We got up to another level, but obviously it’s not enough. We’ve played two playoff teams and they’ve beat us. If we think we’re going to be in the playoffs, we’re going to have to find somebody we can beat.”

The Blackhawks took their first lead of the contest as Marian Hossa scored just 33 seconds into the second frame and shortly thereafter, controversy struck as the Jets appeared to tie the contest after forward Evander Kane crashed the net and seemed to push the puck over the goal line.

The play was reviewed and showed Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery reaching behind him, but evidence was inconclusive so the potential goal was disallowed.

“Yeah, it was in,” Evander Kane offered.

The turn of events was costly for the Jets, as the Blackhawks extended the lead minutes later on a rebound goal from Dave Bolland.

“We just turned it over against a team that’s too good for that,” Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey said. “We’ve got to get out of the first with at least the lead and frankly, we were lucky to get out 2-2 by the end of that last shift. We were not good enough with the puck.”

Kyle Wellwood made it a one-goal game but that was as close as the Jets, now 0-2, would come.

Through the first two games of the season, Pavelec has surrendered nine goals and he needs to be better in order for the Jets to contend. Noel stuck with his gut and kept Pavelec in the game instead of pulling him and the move seemed to pay off as the goalie had a much better third period.

“You’d have to ask him what caused the turnaround, but we were patient and we just let him find himself really,” Noel said.


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