But there's one thing he hadn't done in two previous visits to
the United Center: win.
Montoya took care of that bucket list item on Sunday night, standing
tall against a Blackhawks barrage before the Winnipeg Jets offense
got untracked en route to a 3-1 victory over the defending Stanley
"I've been waiting for this one since I was a kid," Montoya said. "I
can't even describe it. I've had some close ones, some good games in
here, but this one takes it."
The win, the sixth for the Jets in seven games since Paul Maurice
replaced Claude Noel as head coach, seemed unlikely until right
winger Blake Wheeler scored the first of his two goals. The Jets had
only six shots to Chicago's 27 in the first 40 minutes, and had
trailed since left winger Brandon Bollig's goal 1:21 into the game.
But Wheeler's goal 8:16 into the third awakened the visitors, and
just under five minutes later, former Hawk Andrew Ladd brought the
Jets the lead with a wrist shot under the glove of Chicago
goaltender Corey Crawford. It was his 150th career goal.
"That win's all him," Ladd said of Montoya. "He gave us a chance and
then in the third — you know we talked about it in this room — we're only down one and still had a chance to win the game and we
wanted to reward him for playing awesome."
Another Wheeler goal, this one into an empty net with 75 seconds
left, sealed the outcome, and sent the Hawks on a seven-game
pre-Olympic road trip with three straight losses (0-2-1) and only
three wins in the last 10 games (3-3-4).
"We just threw away another two points," Chicago captain Jonathan
Toews said. "I don't really have an explanation without seeming
negative. We played some good hockey in the first two periods, and I
feel like we ... we're experienced, we know what we're supposed to
do in those situations. We just haven't done it lately. Frustrating
to come out and have that kind of lackluster effort, when we find
ourselves on our heels again to a team that has nothing to lose in
the third period.
"Tonight was another game where, for a while, it looked like an
easy, well, not an easy two points. That's the wrong thing to say,
but we just kind of gave up on it. We need to be better, and better
right now. We can't wait any longer."
[to top of second column]
Toews was an accomplice on Ladd's game-winner. He was trying to
clear the puck from the left-wing corner, but his feed to right
winger Marian Hossa on the boards was deflected by Hossa straight to
the wide-open Ladd.
Bollig's score from deep on left wing held up for 47 minutes until
Wheeler's 20th goal of the season. He outskated Chicago defenseman
Brent Seabrook for a loose puck off the rebound of defenseman Mark
Stuart's original shot, pumping it over the glove of Crawford from
"We played the right way for 40 minutes," Chicago coach Joel
Quenneville said. "I don't know if we got comfortable. We were still
playing the right way when it was 1-0. But we still leave the puck
in some dangerous areas, that leads to odd-man rush chances in the
middle of the ice."
Crawford made 18 saves for the Hawks (32-10-12).
NOTES: Chicago LW Bryan Bickell was held out of the lineup in favor
of a seventh defenseman, Michael Kostka. Bickell, a minus-7, has one
goal in his last 14 games and only two assists this season. Hawks
coach Joel Quenneville had been critical of Bickell's lack of
physical play in recent weeks, but had not pulled the 6-foot-4
veteran from the lineup. The 14 games Bickell missed earlier in the
season were due to injury. ... Kostka played left wing with RW Kris
Versteeg and C Michal Handzus. ... D Michal Rozsival was the other
Chicago scratch. ... C Bryan Little and D Zach Bogosian had
Winnipeg's only shots in the first 33 minutes, both of them in the
first period. Little and LW Andrew Ladd had the third and fourth
shots, seconds apart, with about 6:30 left in the second. ... The
Jets had been outscored 15-5 in their first three losses of the
season to the Blackhawks. ... Chicago native Al Montoya was in goal
for the Jets, subbing for G Ondrej Pavelic, who had played the
previous eight games. ... It was Chicago's last home game until
March 1, when they face Pittsburgh at Soldier Field. A seven-game
road trip precedes the Olympic break.
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