WINNIPEG — Noted philosopher Daniel Carcillo opined that the Blackhawks were focusing on "getting their swag back" when they faced the Jets in a key Central Division showdown Friday night.
Thanks to the king of swag — Patrick Kane — consider it back.
After three losses to the Jets at the United Center this season, the Hawks were able to turn the tables and skated to a 2-1 victory in overtime Friday that eased the angst that accompanied being shut out their two previous games. Brandon Saad scored the game-winner, Kane had a goal and an assist and Corey Crawford was terrific in goal as the Hawks improved to 3-3-0 on their seven-game trip.
"Against a team we've had a hard time with all year it's certainly nice to win," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a hard game; tight the whole way. It was almost like a playoff game. It had that sense in the building and the same way on the ice."
Crawford made 20 saves to outduel Michael Hutchinson in goal and help hand the reeling Jets their sixth loss in a row. Crawford allowed a Mark Scheifele score early in the opening period but shut the door the rest of the way as the Hawks pulled to within six points of first place in the Central behind the tied Predators and Blues.
"After losing those three (to the Jets) you want to come back and win one in their building," Crawford said. "It was a hard win. We didn't try and force anything. It was a big win."
Perhaps as big as righting a Hawks ship that was listing with erratic play that began in January and has lingered in February, was finally solving the Jets.
"They came into our building and out-played us and took all three," said Saad, who banged home the game-winner 3 minutes, 1 second into overtime after Kane skated around the net with the puck and sent it into the slot. "We wanted to come here and return the favor. It's a big two points."
The Hawks' first order of business was to notch a goal. After Scheifele gave the Jets the lead in the first period, the Hawks not only trailed but still hadn't found scored in more than two games. Finally, they snapped a 149-minute, 25-second goalless skid when Kane took a pass from Brad Richards, burst into the Jets zone on a breakaway and shoveled a back-hander past Hutchinson for his team-leading 26th goal.
After that, Crawford and Hutchinson turned aside everything thrown at them until overtime.
Carcillo returned to the Hawks' lineup for the first time since serving a six-game suspension for an illegal cross check to the Jets' Mathieu Perreault when the teams played Jan. 18. It didn't take long for the Jets to make a statement on their thoughts on the hit as Chris Thornburn dropped the gloves with Carcillo just 1 minute, 7 seconds into the game.
Beforehand, both Perreault and Carcillo said they put the incident that resulted in Carcillo's ninth career suspension behind them.
"I'm a pretty laid-back guy — I've moved on," Perreault said. "It happens in a game; guys do their stuff."
On the length of the suspension, Perreault said that he "was fine with it. They tried to make the best decision they can. Whatever would have been decided I would have been fine with it."
Carcillo wasn't as fine with it but also said he has "served my time and moved on.
"It's an emotional game. Things happen and it may look like there's malicious intent and there really isn't. It's something you always have to be aware of and something you always have to have consciously in your head, especially with the way the league is moving toward hits and other stuff."