Copp, Little help Jets rally past Blackhawks

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[January 27, 2017]  CHICAGO -- Playing their fourth game in six nights, the Winnipeg Jets relied on some guile to continue their season-long mastery of the Chicago Blackhawks

Andrew Copp and Bryan Little scored 32 seconds apart late in the final frame as the Jets rallied to record their fourth win of the season over the Blackhawks, 5-3 on Thursday night in the teams' final game before the All-Star break.

Copp beat Scott Darling with 4:02 remaining to tie the game at 3. It was Copp's fourth goal in five games. Little followed quickly with his sixth goal in four games and one that withstood a video review.

"We didn't come out and blow the doors off in the third but we made the most of when they made mistakes," said Little, who had just seven goals in his first 24 games.

Shawn Matthias and Patrik Laine scored in the first period and Mark Scheifele added an empty-netter with 2:03 to play for Winnipeg (23-25-4), which has won three of five.

Duncan Keith, Nick Schmaltz and Tanner Kero scored for Chicago (30-16-5), which will face the Jets for the final time in the regular season on March 10 in Winnipeg.

"I thought we played a lot better the way we needed to play, but obviously, it wasn't there for a full 60 minutes and you know for whatever reason they've had our number this year," Keith said.

It was also the Blackhawks' second straight late collapse. Darling started after Corey Crawford gave up three third-period tallies in a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Darling had been formidable at the United Center this season, posting a 7-2-1 record with a 1.98 goals-against average. But he also was forced to overcome some early jitters.

Laine, playing in his second game after missing eight with a concussion, opened the scoring 6:16 into the contest with Chicago's Richard Panik off for goaltender interference. Laine took a pass from Little and ripped a shot from the right side of the slot for his 22nd goal, leaving him one behind Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the rookie lead.

"Patty Laine looked right tonight. ... He was back to looking normal tonight," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said of the only Jets player scheduled to play Sunday in the All-Star Game at Los Angeles.

Winnipeg increased its lead just 42 seconds later. Jacob Trouba's blast from the left point into traffic was corralled by Matthias, who slid it past Darling for his seventh goal.

The Blackhawks, who were outscored 9-2 in three previous losses to Winnipeg, halved the deficit at 13:07 of the first period -- and only five seconds after the Jets' Nic Petan was called for hooking.

Artem Anisimov won the faceoff and got the puck to Brent Seabrook, who fed Keith with a cross-ice pass. His shot from the top of the right circle got past a screened Connor Hellebuyck for his fourth goal and second in as many games.

The Blackhawks knotted the score four minutes into the second period when Schmaltz scored unassisted for his third goal. Schmaltz had been held without a point in his previous three games.

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Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save during the first period of the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago took a 3-2 lead with 3:23 to play in the middle period. Kero played give-and-go with Patrick Kane and beat Hellebuyck for his third goal in five games.

But Hellebuyck was solid after that, stopping Jonathan Toews on a breakaway with 9:20 to play.

"I think I got back to my game, not trying to do too much, not trying to do other people's jobs, playing my game," said Hellebuyck, who made 18 of his 38 saves in the opening period in his first action since Jan. 13.

Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said the team needs the four-day break to regroup.

"This one's going to take a while to swallow, the way we lost this one," he said.

The Blackhawks dropped four points behind the Central Division-leading Minnesota Wild, who have three games in hand.

NOTES: Four Blackhawks -- RW Patrick Kane, C Jonathan Toews, D Duncan Keith and G Corey Crawford will head to Los Angeles for Sunday's All-Star game. ... Chicago D Niklas Hjalmarsson played in his 600th career game. ... Coming into play Thursday and with a minimum of 10 games played in January, Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane was third in the league with an average of 4.3 shots on goal per game. ... RW Jordin Tootoo, D Michal Rozsival and C Dennis Rasmussen were scratched for Chicago. ... Winnipeg's scratches were D Brian Strait, D Julian Melchiori and G Michael Hutchinson. ... Following the All-Star break, the NHL will resume play with 14 games on Tuesday. Chicago meets the San Jose Sharks in the opener of a six-game road trip, while Winnipeg continues its four-game swing against the St. Louis Blues.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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