CHICAGO — Mathieu Perreault got off to a slow start in his first season with the Winnipeg Jets. He looks quite comfortable in his new home now.
Perreault scored two goals while extending his point streak to eight games, and the Jets routed the listless Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Bryan Little had his team-best 13th goal as Winnipeg stopped Chicago's eight-game home winning streak. The Jets are responsible for two of the Blackhawks' four regulation home losses, also winning 1-0 at the United Center on Nov. 2 in their first meeting of the season.
"Anytime you can go up against the league's best and get a win, you get to keep that for a while," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "Real powerful team, and they're elite in some of the things that they do and because of that, that's a confidence booster for your team."
Perreault signed a $9 million, three-year contract with Winnipeg last summer. But the center had no goals and three assists in his first 19 games with his new team.
"I had a little bit of a rough start to the season, but as of late it's been going OK with (Mark Scheifele) and (Michael Frolik), two good players," Perreault said. "Right now it's clicking for our line so, I'll just go with it."
Winnipeg (18-10-7), one of the NHL's biggest surprises, won for the third time in four games, bouncing back from a 4-3 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Sunday. The Jets led the Flyers 3-1 after two periods, but were unable to close it out.
It was the Blackhawks' worst loss of the season; they have only three losses by more than one goal. Chicago (23-10-2) had won 14 of 17 overall.
"All year long, I think we've been in every hockey game except for tonight," coach Joel Quenneville said.
Marian Hossa scored his seventh goal in the second period, but the Blackhawks struggled to generate quality chances. Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson, who began the day with an NHL-best .940 save percentage and 1.73 goals-against average, finished with 38 saves.
It was the Blackhawks' second game since the sudden death of assistant equipment manager Clint Reif on Sunday morning. They beat Toronto 4-0 that night, but looked all out of sorts against the Jets.
"Today was a letdown for us in the game," forward Kris Versteeg said. "You want to channel your energies in the right direction and do that the best you can. Today we just felt flat."
Winnipeg jumped on Chicago for three goals in the first, chasing Corey Crawford while outshooting the Blackhawks 15-7 in the period. Perreault started the flurry with a wrist shot that went over Crawford's glove at 9:04.
Little took a pass from former Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd to make it 2-0 at 13:18, and Anthony Peluso slammed home a loose puck for his first goal since Dec. 31, 2013. Peluso's third career goal put an end to Crawford's night after 13 shots, and Antti Raanta entered with 4 1/2 minutes left in the period.
Perreault added a power-play goal in the second for his eighth of the season. He has five goals and four assists in the NHL's longest active point streak.
Chicago got on the board when Brandon Saad set up Hossa for a breakaway, and the veteran forward beat Hutchinson into the upper left corner at 12:05. The Blackhawks then turned up the pressure, but Hutchinson made a couple of nice stops on Patrick Kane in the final minute of the second.
"We've been doing it all season. We've been getting good starts and good jumps on every team," Hutchinson said. "It's always easier to play with the lead."
Blake Wheeler added an empty-net goal for Winnipeg, which dropped three of four against Chicago last season. Ladd finished with two assists.
NOTES: Blackhawks D Michal Rozsival did not play in the third period due to a lower-body injury, but Quenneville said he should be OK. ... Perreault's point streak is the longest of the season for the Jets. ... Blackhawks C Brad Richards missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He skated with the team on Tuesday morning and could return Saturday at Colorado in Chicago's first game after the NHL's Christmas break. ... The Jets scratched Ds Mark Stuart and Julien Brouillette, and LW T.J. Galiardi. ... Winnipeg's next game is Saturday at Minnesota.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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