They left a week ago, a team struggling to score goals and still fighting to hammer home their defensive blueprint.

And the Winnipeg Jets squad that touched down back home in the wee hours Monday morning returned being described by a word seldom -- if ever -- used to describe them:

The Jets capped off an impressive four-game eastern jaunt with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night in front of 21,204 at United Centre that was part perfect defensive blueprint, part good fortune.

The result means the Jets completed their trip 3-0-1, the only point lost of a possible eight coming in a shootout decision to the New Jersey Devils that, ironically, might have been their best effort of the four.
The Jets are now 6-5-1 and, after picking up points in five straight games, have moved into a tie with Chicago in the Central Division standings.


Michael Hutchinson made just his second start of the season for the Jets and his first since being yanked in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the third game of the year, when he surrendered three goals on 13 shots.

And he was superb, kicking out all 33 shots for his first NHL shutout. Interestingly, before the game Jets coach Paul Maurice said Hutchinson's work in relief against Tampa on Oct. 24 -- he stopped all nine shots he faced -- was critical for the youngster's confidence. Hutchinson had some luck, with two Hawks shots hitting posts, but was good from start to finish.