Nikolaj Ehlers has hat trick, Jets beat Blackhawks 6-5
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers and the Winnipeg Jets were in full flight — again.
Patrik Laine scored twice and became the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 goals, Ehlers had a hat trick and the Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 on Thursday night.
Laine scored his 100th and 101st goals in his 178th game at the age of 20 years, 224 days. Wayne Gretzky did it the fastest in 20 years, 40 days. Jimmy Carson and Brian Bellows also accomplished the feat faster than Laine. The Finn has an NHL-leading 21 goals this season, 18 of them November.
“It feels like a lot of my shots are going in and that’s why I’m trying to shoot every time I get the chance,” said Laine, who scored five goals Saturday night in a victory at St. Louis.
Ehlers scored a goal in each period, with his third fired in when he went in alone on goalie Corey Crawford and beat him with a low shot at 9:45 of the third period to make it 6-3. It was his third career hat trick.
“I feel like I’ve been playing some good hockey lately,” said Ehlers, who’s been on the top line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele for the past month. “It’s gotten better and better. My defensive game was not good today, but I worked hard as I can to continue growing as a player and today I got rewarded.”
Jacob Trouba also had a goal and one assist for Winnipeg, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each had three assists, and Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves.
Winnipeg held on after Artem Anisimov cut it to 6-5 with 2:52 left.
Marcus Kruger, John Hayden, Jan Rutta and Domink Kahun also scored for Chicago, and Crawford stopped 27 shots.
“This hasn’t been good enough and it’s not OK,” Kruger said. “I think we’re all sick of losing here. We just got to be better.”
The Blackhawks are 1-4-0 in their last five games.
“It’s tough to say, but we just got to stick with the process here,” Chicago forward Patrick Kane said. “Sometimes you go through these struggles and things get worse before they get better. So you try to stick with what the coaches want us to do.”
NOTES: Jets defenseman Cameron Schilling, called up from the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose on Wednesday, picked up the secondary assist of Ehlers’ goal, the first point of his seven-game NHL career. The 30-year-old Indiana player hadn’t played an NHL game since March 2015 when he was with Washington. Schilling and fellow defenceman Sami Niku were on the ice replacing injured blue-liners Dustin Byfuglien and Joe Morrow.
Jets: At New Jersey on Saturday night.
Blackhawks: At Nashville on Saturday night.