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Winnipeg Jets defeat Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 and also complete two trades

The Winnipeg Jets exploded for four goals in the second period, and then held on for a 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night at the United Center.

The victory moved the Jets to within four points of the Vegas Golden Knights for the final playoff berth in the NHL Western Conference standings. Vegas plays Monday Night in Minnesota before taking on Winnipeg at Canada Life Centre on Tuesday.

Read more: Jets dump slumping Knights 7-3, move within two points of playoff spot

Following the game, the Jets announced they had reacquired right-winger Mason Appleton from the Seattle Kraken for a fourth-round draft pick in 2023. And in the wee hours of Monday morning, defenceman Nathan Beaulieu was sent to Pittsburgh for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft.

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Nikolaj Ehlers snapped a scoreless tie midway through the first period of Sunday night’s game, beating Marc-Andre Fleury on a wrap-around for his 18th goal of the season.

The teams traded three goals just 62 seconds apart in the opening 2:15 of the second period as Jonathan Toews redirected a centring pass from recently acquired Taylor Raddysh to tie the game at 1. Then 13 seconds later, Dylan Strome gave Chicago a 2-1 lead when he finished off a setup from Patrick Kane.

Read more: ANALYSIS: Copp reflective when discussing injury scare, future as trade deadline looms

But the lead didn’t last long as Jansen Harkins ended an 18-game goalless drought with his sixth of the season, deflecting a Dylan DeMelo point shot over the glove of Fleury to tie the game 2-2.

At 11:13 of the middle frame, Harkins drove to the net and buried a neat pass from Andrew Copp over the outstretched right pad of the veteran Blackhawks goalie to put Winnipeg in front to stay.

Kyle Connor, who had set a personal best for assists (36) and points (74) in a season with a helper on Ehlers goal in the first period, scored a career-high 39th goal of the season on a Winnipeg powerplay at 17:36 to up the Jets lead to 4-2.

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Read more: Winnipeg Jets battle back, but fall 4-2 to Bruins in third period dogfight

And Josh Morrissey hammered a Mark Scheifele set up exactly two minutes later in the dying seconds of the period to give Winnipeg a 5-2 lead going into the third.

The Blackhawks made it interesting when Raddysh scored on a Hawks powerplay early in the final frame to make it a two-goal game. And then Philipp Kurashev wristed a shot past Connor Hellebuyck on the short side to cut the Jets lead to 5-4 with seven minutes to play.

Hellebuyck made several outstanding saves off Raddysh, Alex DeBrincat, and Kurashev in the final two minutes to preserve the lead before Blake Wheeler found the empty net with 1:09 remaining to seal the win.

It was Winnipeg’s final road game of the season against a Western Conference opponent as the Jets’ final eight away games will all be played against teams from the East.

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