“It was classy,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said of the video and fans giving a standing ovation to Ladd, who was traded to the Blackhawks on Feb. 25.
“It’s always nice to see the fans react like that,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “He was a great teammate and a great friend and he meant a lot to this organization and to this city.”
The victory halted Chicago’s four-game losing streak in what was Ladd’s first appearance in Winnipeg since he was moved in a multi-player deal that included current Jets forward Marko Dano.
“It was awesome,” said Ladd, who raised his stick toward the 15,294 fans at MTS Centre.
“I always appreciated the fans and the people of Winnipeg when I was here. I appreciated the ovations and can’t say enough about the city.”
Ladd had 16:16 of ice time in his old rink.
It was Darling’s first shutout of the season and came in his 20th game for Chicago (42-24-6).
Ondrej Pavelc turned aside 32 shots for Winnipeg (29-37-5), which was starting a four-game homestand.
“It was a tight game there until the end of the second,” said Darling, whose only other shutout was last year in his rookie season with Chicago.
“Pavelec made some big saves to keep them in it and the boys really shut it down in the third period. It was huge by them to help me out.”
Chicago had a 13-11 edge in shots on goal after the scoreless first period, which featured Pavelec making a high-light reel, full-arm snapping glove save on Dale Weise late in the period.
Pavelec acknowledged it was a nice save, but it meant nothing given the game’s outcome.
“I don’t think we played that bad,” he said. “We had some chances, we couldn’t score. Their goalie made some good saves. (There were) chances on both sides. But 4-0 is 4-0, right?, so you can’t really be happy about it.”
Darling provided his own wow moment in the second when he sprawled out on his stomach to stop a Drew Stafford shot.
Kane scored his 39th goal of the season at 16:56 when he raced in alone on Pavelec, sending a backhand shot over the netminder’s shoulder on the short side.
The Blackhawks are 37-6-4 when scoring first.
“It was a pretty close game and we get a couple of goals, and after that you could see the guys get a little more confidence and there were a lot more plays being made,” said Kane, whose assist gave him 92 points.
It was a relief for Kane and his teammates to put an end to the losing skid, which included a shootout loss.
“Looking at a four-game slide there, maybe it’s better it happens now rather than later in the season and playoffs and then you’re done,” Kane said.
“We can learn from this. And, you know, if we lose one or two down the road here we can look back on this situation as a team and as a group and realize how we got ourselves out of it.”
The Jets host Anaheim on Sunday, while Chicago is home to Minnesota the same day.