Hawks dominate Jets for 10th win
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For the second time in less than a week, the Winnipeg Jets saw the Blackhawks at their best.
The Hawks got goals from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brandon Pirri and Patrick Sharp in a 4-1 win over the Jets at the United Center on Wednesday night.
It was the Hawks' 10th win of the season in 16 games (10-2-4). That might be the quietest 10 wins in the league.
"It's been a decent start," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said before the game. "We've tried to make it a point of emphasis that a strong start can put us in a good place at the end of the year. We're not totally pleased with where we're at, but we're fine."
Sharp agreed with Quenneville that the start has been good but not great.
"I think that's pretty fair," Sharp said. "We're playing well, but I don't think we've hit our stride yet. There have been a few nights where it's all come together.
"I think tonight was a good effort. I think Q could be happy with this one, we'll see what he says in his postgame comments."
Quenneville, after the game, backed away from his morning comments.
"Maybe better than decent," Quenneville said. "We've been happy. We're pleased with it. Obviously, last year's standard is impossible to achieve, but I think we've been relatively pleased with where we're at right now. Defensively and offensively we've been doing a lot of good things, more so recently than at the start."
Jets coach Claude Noel was impressed with what he saw again from the Hawks as much as he was disappointed in his team.
"They're a good transition team, but they don't only need transition," Noel said. "Look at Sharp's goal: turnover on the wall, boom, dot, boom, top shelf. Just pick your poison. You have to manage the puck well. You have to minimize as many mistakes.
"We've given up 9 goals in two games. Do we need to give up another 4 or 5 the next time to recognize this is what they can do?"
The Hawks' top line of Toews, Sharp and Marian Hossa was dominating again with 2 goals and an assist.
Defenseman Duncan Keith had 2 assists and probably should have had 3, but a decision by the official scorer stood firm.
Keith assisted on Toews' goal in the first period that opened the scoring.
"I think anybody that plays with Sharp, Toews and Hossa is going to get some opportunities to play in the other team's end," Keith said. "It seems like they have the puck the whole shift every time they're out there."
Quenneville thought it was the best game of the season by the Toews line.
"I think they had their best game tonight," Quenneville said. "They had the puck a lot; a lot of zone time, a lot of quality chances and had some production as well to show for it."
The Hawks got 2 late goals in the first period from Toews and Kane to take a 2-0 lead. Kane's goal came with 5.8 seconds remaining before intermission.
The Hawks made it 3-0 with a goal late in the second period by Pirri, who beat goalie Al Montoya in alone with a high wrist shot. A pass by Ben Smith sprung Pirri.
"Smitty made a great and I had lot of room," Pirri said. "I decided to go glove side and just tried to get it off.
"We had a lot of puck possession, which was huge for us. When the talented guys on our team have the puck and make plays it's fun to watch."
• Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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