Josh Morrissey

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Bruce Boudreau: ‘We stunk in the first, we better come back in the second — holy crap’

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Those thinking that perhaps Bruce Boudreau would wax poetic about his team’s second period comeback against Winnipeg would be mistaken.

The Minnesota Wild were down 4-0 early in the second period to the Jets before coming all the way back to tie the game before the middle period was up, thanks to four goals in just over 10 minutes.

In the end, the Wild still lost after giving up a third-period goal to Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey and not being able to beat goalie Michael Hutchinson for the equalizer in the final seconds.

Boudreau met with reporters post-game and, well, he wasn’t in any way happy or positive about the developments Sunday. Minnesota has now lost five in a row and eight of 10 games this month, falling out of first place in the Central Division.

Asked about his team’s resiliency, the coach offered this response: “Hey, listen: We stunk in the first period. We better come back in the second. Holy crap. It’s not resiliency. You’re making it sound like we’re good. That’s — I’m done.”

The Wild host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Related: Bruce Boudreau is ‘concerned’ about the way the Wild are playing

Wild can’t complete the comeback, lose fifth straight

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The shots favored the Wild. The puck possession numbers favored the Wild. The result on the score board, however, did not favor the Wild.

Minnesota has now lost five in a row and is only 2-8 this month following a 5-4 defeat to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Their recent slump combined with the fact Chicago is putting together plenty of positive results of late has pushed the Wild five points back of first place in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks are playing tonight, so their advantage could stretch to seven points.

This had the makings of a complete disaster for the Wild, after they fell behind by four goals before this game was even 25 minutes old.

Devan Dubnyk had given up four goals on eight shots but was kept in the net to battle through his struggles.

Minnesota suddenly sparked a comeback. The Wild turned the tide with four goals in the span of 10:24, eliminating their deficit and getting back onto even terms before the end of the second period in which they completely dominated the Jets.

The Wild’s offensive outbreak forced the Jets to make a goalie change, with Michael Hutchinson coming off the bench to replace Connor Hellebuyck and stopping all 13 shots he faced in the third period, as the furious comeback attempt fell short.

Hutchinson made a spectacular save with only seconds remaining in regulation to secure the win.

Josh Morrissey scored to give Winnipeg the lead and eventually the win.

“We’re not executing properly … it’s something we’ve got to clean up and be better. We’ve got to be better prepared for Tuesday,” said Eric Staal.

The Wild are back home for their next three games. They host the San Jose Sharks, the Pacific Division leaders, on Tuesday.

Jets lose another d-man — Enstrom out 2-3 weeks after surgery

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Winnipeg’s blueline was dealt another blow on Thursday, as the club announced Tobias Enstrom would miss the next 2-3 weeks following surgery to correct a lower-body injury.

Enstrom played just 1:22 in a loss to Tampa Bay over the weekend, then missed Tuesday’s 5-2 win against Dallas.

The 32-year-old plays a big role for the Jets — averaging 22:19 TOI through 55 games this year — so the loss will hurt. And it hurts even more given the club won’t have rearguard Tyler Myers for the foreseeable future. Myers, who hasn’t played since Nov. 11, is out 6-8 weeks after also undergoing surgery for a lower-body ailment.

With those two out, Jets head coach Paul Maurice iced a defense of Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrissey, Paul Postma, Ben Chiarot and Mark Stuart in the win over the Stars. Byfuglien and Trouba were the heavy lifters — receiving 24:21 and 26:01 of ice time, respectively — and there’s a good chance that trend will continue with Enstrom on the shelf.

If Enstrom is out two weeks, that puts his return at March 2 — meaning he’d miss the next five games. If the recovery goes three weeks, Enstrom could miss as many as nine games.

Winnipeg heads into tonight’s action sitting five points back of Calgary for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Loss to Jets will ‘kind of ruin the break’ for Blackhawks

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CHICAGO (AP) The Winnipeg Jets were just OK for most of the first part of the season. Except for their games against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Against the Blackhawks, they were perfect.

Andrew Copp and Bryan Little scored in a 32-second span in the third period, and Winnipeg continued its dominance against Chicago with a 5-3 victory on Thursday on the final night before the NHL All-Star break.

“For some reason, we elevate our game when we play this team and we always give our best,” Little said. “The big thing for us is having that confidence and having that energy and just will to win against other teams. For some reason, we just have these guys’ numbers.”

Winnipeg (23-25-4) improved to 4-0 against Chicago (30-16-5), outscoring the Blackhawks 13-4. It had dropped four in a row against Chicago coming into the season.

“These are huge points,” said Connor Hellebuyck, who made 38 saves in his first appearance since Jan. 13. “It doesn’t matter what team we’re playing, we need to continue to grow our team and continue to get points and think these two are going to spring us post All-Star break.”

Little, Copp, rookie Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist, helping the Jets to their third win in their last nine games.

The Blackhawks had a 3-2 lead before Copp tipped Josh Morrissey‘s shot past Scott Darling with 4:03 left. Little then blasted a shot by Darling for his 13th of the season, silencing the crowd of 21,746.

Scheifele added an empty-netter at 17:57 for his 22nd goal, moving the center into a tie with Laine for the team lead.

“I thought we had good control of the game,” Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. “They were getting chances, but we were playing well. It was just two sets of two quick goals. It totally changed the game.”

Keith, Nick Schmaltz and Tanner Kero scored for the Blackhawks, who allowed four goals in the third period of a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Darling finished with 28 stops.

Winnipeg also scored two goals in a 42-second span in the first, continuing a disturbing trend for Chicago. The Blackhawks allowed two in 46 seconds against Vancouver on Sunday, and then surrendered a pair of goals in 30 seconds against the Lightning.

“It’s hard to accept these two. Especially this one today,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “It’s going to kind of ruin the break a little bit. It’s going to take a little while to swallow the way we’ve lost this one.”

Winnipeg jumped in front in the first when Little made a great pass across the ice to Laine, who drove a one-timer by Darling for a power-play goal at 6:16. Laine returned Tuesday after missing eight games with a concussion.

Jacob Trouba then had a big slap shot go off the right skate of Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell and past Darling, with Shawn Matthias getting his stick on the puck just before it crossed the line. It was Matthias’ seventh of the season.

“There were plays that could have been defended against for sure tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We always talk about important shifts. That’s the first shift after a goal, a key shift in games.”

The Blackhawks, who controlled much of the early action, then got one back after Nic Petan was whistled for hooking at 13:02. Just 5 seconds into the ensuing power play, Keith drove a slap shot by Hellebuyck from the left point with Chicago center Artem Anisimov providing a perfect screen in front.

Schmaltz got the tying goal 4 minutes into the second. While Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart repeatedly checked Chicago center Marcus Kruger in the back while the two were on the ice, Schmaltz picked up the loose puck, skated in and beat Hellebuyck on the short side for his third of the season.

NOTES: Kruger played in his first game since Dec. 30. He was activated from injured reserve on Tuesday after being sidelined by a hand injury. … Blackhawks C Dennis Rasmussen, who is battling an illness, skated Thursday morning, but was scratched. … Hjalmarsson played in his 600th NHL game. … Chicago visits Winnipeg on Feb. 10.

UP NEXT

Jets: Continue a four-game road trip Tuesday night against St. Louis.

Blackhawks: Begin a six-game road trip at San Jose on Tuesday night.

Video: Ward takes huge hit, but sets up goal

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Sharks coach Peter DeBoer wanted a lot more out of his team following a lackluster shutout loss to St. Louis. Joel Ward more than delivered.

Ward had a short-handed goal and took a hard hit to assist on Timo Meier‘s score, helping San Jose beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 on Monday for just its third win in eight games.

“That’s the commitment we talk about,” DeBoer said. “Taking that hit, making that play scores the goal. We need that. Joel’s a guy that brings that to the rink almost every night. That’s what it’s going to take at this time of year in order to have success.”

Brent Burns and Chris Tierney also scored and Joe Thornton had an empty-netter as the Sharks bounced back nicely from a 4-0 home loss to St. Louis on Saturday. Martin Jones made 26 saves, allowing two late goals after the game had been decided.

Josh Morrissey broke up the shutout with 2:36 to play and Mark Scheifele added a goal in the final minute after Jones tried to shoot the puck toward the empty net but hit Scheifele instead.

“That’s the first time I’ve tried, and probably the last, too,” Jones said.

Michael Hutchinson made 27 saves for the Jets, who have dropped four in a row.

The Sharks broke open a close game with two goals in the first half of the second period, starting when Mark Stuart jumped up into the play and flattened Ward on a clean hit in front of the Jets bench.

Ward’s head slammed against the ice but the Sharks took advantage of Stuart’s aggressiveness with a breakaway when Chris Tierney played the puck ahead to Meier, who beat Hutchinson for his second career goal.

“It was a hockey play. It was a good hit,” Ward said. “I tried to get the puck out obviously, and next thing I knew I was on my back and heard the horn go off. I wasn’t too sure what happened after that.”

Ward was taken off for observation to make sure he didn’t have a concussion. By the time he returned midway through the second, the Sharks had added to the lead.

Paul Potsma was penalized for closing his hand on the puck and Burns made the Jets pay when his point shot hit off the back boards and then deflected off an unsuspecting Hutchinson’s skate and into the net for Burns’ 18th goal of the season.

“The third goal was just one of those bounces you get when you’re going through a rough patch,” Hutchinson said. “It got shot through a screen and I felt it hit my skate and as soon as that happened I kind of kicked it pretty hard.”

The Jets had some good chances early but Jones robbed Shawn Matthias twice in the opening minutes of the first period and Blake Wheeler hit a post later in the first.

Winnipeg also got the first power-play chance when David Schlemko was called for a high stick, but the Sharks scored when Dustin Byfuglien couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone. Ward went in on a partial breakaway and beat Hutchinson with a shot from the top of the circle to make it 1-0 just 15 seconds into the man advantage.

“You can’t give up so many grade-A chances and expect them all to be saved, we have to help our goaltenders,” Scheifele said. “We’re just getting away from our game.”

Tierney took another high-sticking penalty for the Sharks, but the Jets couldn’t score on the 15-second two-man advantage or either power play.

NOTES: All three of Thornton’s goals this season have been empty-netters. … Stuart fought with Micheal Haley in the first period…. Sharks F Joonas Donskoi missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury.

UP NEXT

Jets: Host Arizona on Wednesday.

Sharks: Visit Los Angeles on Wednesday.