Instant Recap: Jets Climb Past Avalanche in Denver, Win 2-1 in OT

The Avalanche are snow match for Montoya and the Jets - Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In a game dominated by the goaltenders, the Jets edged out the Avalanche with less than 2 seconds left in OT.

Recap:

There certainly was not a mountain of goals in Denver on Sunday night, as the Winnipeg Jets evaded the Avalanche in a 2-1 OT victory on the road.

The opening frame featured 22 total shots, but none of them troubled starting goalie's Al Montoya and Semyon Varlamov and the opening 20 went by with minimal fireworks.

Bryan Little took a penalty 18 seconds into the second period, but the Jets penalty kill was able to thwart the Avs' efforts. The Jets got a chance of their own with the extra man 5 minutes later, but the power play was simply atrocious, barely getting into the Colorado zone, and not managing any shots on net. Varlamov had the highlight of the night when he flashed the leather to deny Evander Kane with a windmill save.

Finally...FINALLY...Andrew Ladd and that quick release of his opened the scoring with a little over 8 minutes to go, after one timing a Blake Wheeler. But before you knew what was happening, Mark Stuart redirected a shot which deflected off Zach Bogosian, off the nob of Al Montoya's goal-stick and in. A total fluke, but they all count, and the Winnipeg lead was gone after 29 seconds. A few chances were exchanged, but both teams made it to overtime. Going into the extra frame, the Jets had a 6-5 record in extra time, in contrast to the 5-3 record of the Avalanche.

Colorado played like they were content to go to the shootout, and then got a huge chance denied by Montoya. The gamble of waiting for shootout worked for 4:58 of the extra period...when Blake Wheeler redirected a Mark Scheifele pass into the net.

10 Thoughts:

  1. Very positive result for a team that struggles on the road and against divisional rivals. A pair of wins coming off the Christmas break, especially against division rivals, has to be viewed as a positive, and it was a flukey goal by Nathan MacKinnon that prevented the Jets from coming away with a victory in regulation.
  2. Al Montoya played very well again, stopping 33 of 34 for back to back wins. It would be highly questionable to start anybody other than the Big Cubano on New Years Eve against the Sabres. His numbers on the year are now .929 save percentage, 2.02 GAA and a 7-2-1 record.
  3. Blake Wheeler continues to produce in the lead up to the Olympics, as his game winner moves him into sole possession of the goal scoring lead for the team, with 15 shots finding the back of the net. It was a good play to go to the net and get a redirect passed Varlamov, as the top line did all the scoring on this night. It was a nice feed from behind the net by Wheeler that found Captain Andrew Ladd wide open in the slot, and Ladd made no mistake as he wristed his 10th into the net to give the Jets a very short-lived lead.
  4. After a less than peachy performance against the Wild, Mark Scheifele was quite strong out there, and his played paid off when he assisted on Wheeler's OT winner. Fellow rookie Jacob Trouba also continued to play well, adding an assist of his own. He also added 6 blocked shots, which is the only stat that really matters.
  5. The one goal Colorado scored was the epitome of fluke. Two re-directions saw the puck spoil any chance for a Montoya shutout with 8:49 to go. Hard to fault anybody on that play.
  6. Varlamov had a very strong game. He was named first star in the building, and stopped 35 of 37. However, I still liked it when Dustin Byfuglien gave him a little bop on the mask after the game.
  7. The back-to-back wins for Winnipeg are their first since November 25 and 27 when they beat the Devils and Islanders, as the team still struggles with consistency.
  8. Colorado is 0-2-2 in their last 4. Luckily for them, they still have 6 more home games to go before they next have to travel. And why wouldn't they want to stay in Denver? The high forecast for tomorrow is 12 degrees Celsius.
  9. The Jets were delayed for 9 hours before their flight managed to leave Winnipeg late last night, and their early morning arrival in Denver meant no morning skate. So it looks like their extended stay at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport paid off.
  10. Next up for the Jets is a game on New Years Eve, as Winnipeg can try to redeem themselves against Buffalo, after dropping a 4-2 decision to the worst team in the league 12 days ago.

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