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Blackhawks’ Ladd has perfect night in return to Winnipeg

The former Winnipeg Jets left winger scored a goal in a 4-0 win by the Chicago Blackhawks in his first game back in the Manitoba capital since a Feb. 25 trade.

It was a very happy return to Winnipeg for Andrew Ladd on Friday night.

The former Winnipeg Jets left winger scored a goal in a 4-0 win by the Chicago Blackhawks in his first game back in the Manitoba capital since a Feb. 25 trade.

Ladd deposited a shot past Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec 3:06 into the third period after receiving a pass from Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews.

It capped off a memorable night for Ladd, the Jets’ only captain since the team moved from Atlanta in 2011. The 30-year-old received a standing ovation during a TV timeout in the first period.

“It was awesome,” Ladd told reporters after the game. “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 now has three goals and five points in nine games since rejoining the Blackhawks, for whom he played from 2008 until after the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup championship. He’s found a spot on the second line alongside Toews and right winger Marian Hossa.

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Ladd is in the last of a five-year, $22-million contract and is a pending unrestricted free agent in July. He was traded from the Central Division’s last place squad to the defending Cup winners. Defenseman Jay Harrison and left winger Matt Fraser also went to Chicago, while center Marko Dano and two draft picks, including a first-round in 2016, were sent to Winnipeg.

Ladd is expected to be one of the biggest names on the market in the off-season. While he won’t get as much attention as one Steven Stamkos, Ladd has 205 goals and 459 points in 759 career NHL games and has two Stanley Cup rings.