WINNIPEG — Morgan Barron celebrated his 25th birthday in style.
The forward scored the game-winning goal as the Winnipeg Jets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.
“It was pretty good, and a win, too,” Barron said. “So, that’s all you can ask for.”
Forward Nikolaj Ehlers sent Barron in alone on Chicago goalie Arvid Soderblom and he beat him cleanly.
“Nikky made a beautiful pass,” Barron said. “I felt as though the goalie was challenging me, so usually, when they are a little bit out of the net, I try to find some space five-hole. I actually didn’t think it went in at first, but it did.”
Cole Perfetti, who got the insurance goal midway through the third period, and Mark Scheifele also scored for Winnipeg.
Rookie Connor Bedard replied for Chicago.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 20 of 21 shots for Winnipeg (13-8-2) before 14,189 fans at Canada Life Centre — the largest gathering of the season.
Soderblom made 25 saves on 28 shots for Chicago (7-15-0).
It was the third instalment of a four-game homestand for the Jets.
Perfetti deflected a point shot from defenceman Dylan Samberg past Soderblom. Defenceman Declan Chisholm also assisted to record his first NHL point. Perfetti’s ninth goal of the season is a career high for the young forward.
“He’s (Perfetti) trying to take the next step,” said Jets coach Rick Bowness. “The more he plays, the more experience he gains. You hope he just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he’s got that hockey IQ, he’s got that ability to see the ice and know where to be and know where to put his stick and know where people are. You can’t teach some of the stuff that he does.”
Bedard was also impressive.
“I think you saw it last game,” said Chicago forward Jarred Tinordi. “He was frustrated and came out with some fire. Honestly, I think that’s something we need more in this group.
"When things aren’t going our way, you’ve got to get pissed off. You’ve got to play with some energy and with some emotion out there. He brought it tonight and I think there were a few guys who could have brought it a little bit more. It takes a team effort from this group.”
Bedard had opened the scoring early in the first period. He pounced on the puck after it had deflected off a Jets defenceman’s shin pad. The Blackhawks wunderkind then fired a shot past Hellebuyck.
The goal extended Bedard’s NHL road point streak to eight games. Only Nathan McKinnon had a longer road streak for players 18 years old and younger.
“I thought he was excellent,” said Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson. “I thought the first two periods, especially, he had some really excellent bursts out there, which we have been talking about — just adding a little bit more speed to that talent and I think we saw that. He created some on his first goal just by skating.
“I think, in the third period, they were tight-checking, so were didn’t as a team have a lot to show. They were pushing right to the end. So, I liked his game. I think it’s going in the right direction hopefully — he’s not happy with the result of the game, but he should be happy with his game tonight.”
Scheifele had tied the game 1-1 on the power play in the first. With Chicago defenceman Connor Murphy off for interference, forward Gabe Vilardi charged down the ice, deked around Hawks defenceman Alex Vlasic, then fed Scheifele in front of Soderblom for the Winnipeg goal.
Blackhawks Connor Bedard now leads all NHL rookies with 11 goals and 18 points heading into Saturday’s game. He also led the Hawks in points. … Promising Declan Chisholm replaced Nate Schmidt on the Winnipeg defence. … Jets forward Vladislav Namestnikov missed the match with a lower-body injury. He was replaced by David Gustafsson. … With his goal in the third period, Winnipeg forward Cole Perfetti has now scored at least a point in 13 of his last 15 games when he entered Saturday’s contest. … Chicago forward Anthony Beauvillier, who was recently acquired from Vancouver, made his debut for the Blackhawks.
Jets: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
Stars: Travel to Minnesota to face the Wild on Sunday afternoon.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2023.
Jim Bender, The Canadian Press