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Jets Stumble Back to Reality in Chicago

ST. PAUL — After watching the Minnesota Wild blast the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, one got the sense that the Wild had found their game. It was Minnesota’s sixth win in its last seven games and if that keeps up it will make life a lot more difficult for the Winnipeg Jets.

Of course, after watching the Jets get hammered 4-1 by the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night, it kind of makes you wonder if the Jets really have what it takes to be a contender in the Central Division.

Jonathan Toews was the first star against Winnipeg on Wednesday night (Photo by Shawn Coates)

Jonathan Toews was the first star against Winnipeg on Wednesday night (Photo by Shawn Coates)

We might also have read way too much into Monday night’s 4-2 win over Detroit. Maybe the Wings were dead tired, ready to head home, after winning three games in five nights against Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Maybe they were just done in the third period in Winnipeg. On Wednesday night in Chicago, the Jets looked done.

Wednesday night, midway through the third period, the Hawks had 27 shots at Al Montoya. Thirteen of those shots came from the line of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. Toews had the game’s first goal while Sharp had two goals and an assist. That line ate the Jets alive.

The Jets came tumbling back to earth in Chicago. This wasn’t necessarily a blow out but it was pretty close. There was never a time when you thought the Jets might pull it out. In the end, it was dull affair, dominated by the defending Stanley Cup champions who had just outscored the Jets 9-2 in two games over five days.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp (10) was just too good on Wednesday in Chicago. (SHAWN COATES)

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp (10) was just too good on Wednesday in Chicago. (SHAWN COATES)

With the loss, the Jets fell to 6-9-2 on the season. That’s not good. Especially in what might be the best division in the NHL. The Jets are now tied for 12th in the West, but they’ve played more games than all the teams they can still see ahead of them — Calgary, L.A., Dallas and Nashville.

This is the time of the season when the teams that aren’t expected to be contenders can pick up a few points. The Jets haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity. Maybe it’s not because they have a lousy coach or they don’t get A-level goaltending every night.

Maybe it’s because they just aren’t good enough.

Friday, the Jets return home to play Nashville, Sunday they get San Jose, next Tuesday they head to Detroit and next Friday they meet wonky old Philadelphia. Three of those four games are at home. This is a stretch where the Jets need to make some hay.

Because at the end of the month they start a six-game road swing that will not be easy. Now is the time to win some of those games they can’t take away in March.

To do that, they will have to better than they were in Chicago on Wednesday night.

The Hawks are just too much for the Jets. (Shawn Coates Photo)

The Hawks are just too much for the Jets. (Shawn Coates Photo)

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