Copp scores winner with 4:45 left, Jets top Blackhawks 2-1
Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp, right, celebrates with center Marko Dano, left, after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Chicago. The Jets won 2-1. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Matt Carlson, The Associated Press
Published Monday, December 5, 2016 6:12AM CST
CHICAGO -- Barely 2 minutes after narrowly missing a goal that could have put the game away, Andrew Copp came right back and scored an even bigger one.
Copp got the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little scored his third in three games and the Winnipeg Jets edged the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday night.
Copp beat Scott Darling stick side with a shot from the right circle that slipped just inside the left post and gave Winnipeg its second consecutive victory and fourth in five games.
Chicago's Artemi Panarin scored with 6:54 remaining to tie it at 1, moments after Copp hit the crossbar.
"I was lucky to redeem myself," he said. "It felt really good to respond in that manner."
Panarin spoiled Connor Hellebuyck's bid for a second shutout against Chicago in less than a month when he completed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane and beat Hellebuyck on the glove side.
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice saluted his team for playing a patient game but not sitting back. He also thanked a higher power when Copp scored after hitting metal.
"You're worried about the hockey gods at this point," Maurice said. "Once he scored that, I thought we had a fairly good chance of hanging on, because it seemed fairly justified."
Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves and outdueled Darling, who started his second straight game for the Blackhawks in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford. Darling made 30 saves, including three on breakaways.
Hellebuyck preserved the lead at the end with six saves during a final Chicago flurry. That included a point-blank stop on Marian Hossa with seconds left after Winnipeg's Jacob Trouba got a double-minor for high-sticking with 2:49 remaining and the Blackhawks pulled Darling for an extra skater.
"Probably the most tired I've ever been playing hockey," Hellebuyck said. "I was in desperation mode. You've got to use your mind at that point."
Hellebuyck made 27 saves in the Jets' 4-0 win over the Blackhawks on Nov. 15 in Winnipeg.
Little's power-play goal with 43.4 seconds left in the second period was his fourth point in four games since missing 23 with a lower-body injury.
Crawford underwent an emergency appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Lars Johansson, recalled by Chicago earlier Sunday from Rockford of the American Hockey League, was Darling's backup.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews sat out his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury that coach Joel Quenneville said is "not getting better." Quenneville said Toews skated briefly Sunday morning, but he plans to "keep him off the ice for a few days and get a better assessment in the middle of the week or so."
Chicago's offence is sputtering without Toews. The team has totalled two goals while losing back-to-back games.
"You lose a key guy who does so much for you," Quenneville said. "We didn't generate much tonight. It was just one of those games where they came in our building ... and shut us down."
Darling was solid, just not good enough.
"We're definitely not generating the chance we want to be," he said. "Getting inside, making it tough on the other goalies. So we've got to figure out a way to do that."