The Winnipeg Jets hopped on the back of #BuffNorris, who led the way in the 5-1 destruction of a tired yet also terrible Toronto Maple Leafs squad tonight at the MTS Centre. Sure, the Leafs played last night in Minnesota and were missing some weapons up front, but nobody can come to Winnipeg right now and complain about injuries.
Despite giving up the opening goal of the game to Mike Santorelli (remember him?), new starting goalie (fingers crossed) Michael Hutchinson shut the door the rest of the way and let LLW and #BuffNorris do their business in the Leafs end. The home squad attempted 70 (!!!) shots to the visitors 36, which goes a long in way in explaining how the game went. Goals by T.J. Galiardi, Matt Halischuk, Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little and Ben Chiarot capped up the five-unanswered for the Jets.
- Dustin Byfuglien was an absolute one-man wrecking crew. He is almost single-handedly carrying this decimated blue-line all by himself, earning the #BuffNorris hashtag fully and completely.
- It may have taken injuries to Toby Engstrom, Jacob Trouba, Mark Stuart and Zach Bogosian to finally move Buff back to the blue-line where he belongs, but there is almost no question now that he's there to stay.
- Again with Buff, but did you happen to see this quote from Andrew Ladd about Buff in the most recent 30 Thoughts by @friedgeHNIC? If not, take a gander at this (here's the link if the tweet below doesn't work - it's #22):
- And how about Buff's partner-in-crime? Ben Chiarot may just be along for the ride, but even then he's making no mistakes and letting Buff run wild. The dude will require waivers if he is to be sent back down, but there's no way they can do that, can they? Decisions are looming when healthy bodies return...
- Michael Hutchinson again stood tall. Though he only faced 21 shots, he made a few big saves early on when the game was still in flux. There's no question in this writers mind that the Jets are a better team with Hutch in net then compared to his backup...
- To be fair, the Leafs played last night in Minnesota and are missing a bunch of regulars up front. But they were absolutely smashed by a Jets team that is suffering from their own unique brand of injures. Doctor, doctor, can you find a pulse in this Leafs patient?
- Despite Buff stealing the show, it was just another 3-point night for Bryan Little, while Andrew Ladd also added a pair. LLW was a force as per usual, which needs to happen if this current two-line team is to keep pushing forward. But they were great tonight, especially Little.
- It's not a sunshine and roses, though. Adam Pardy and Paul Postma were a disaster again, as they were busy playing Keystone Cops on the play that led to the only Leafs goal of the game. Getting bad and tired teams like the Leafs on nights like this will help negate the need to constantly cover for them, but good teams will likely continue to annihilate them while they're the second pair.
- I've been all over the 3rd-line lately, especially with Evander Kane on the shelf, but it's nice to see that replacing Thorburn with TJ Galiardi seemed to have a spark for at least one game. Galiardi and Halischuk both lit the lamp, though both were strongly assisted by #BuffNorris. Still, secondary scoring remains key for this team.
- Sorry Travis, but this had to make the recap. Two Leafs jerseys made their way onto the ice surface at the MTS Centre, one of them compliments of this guy. Nice form.
Have written trade buff columns, put buff back on D columns and buff could be elite columns. Tonight he's an untouchable D for #nhljets. Wow— gary lawless (@garylawless) January 4, 2015
Hutch is getting a ton of well deserved love— Toddler (@toddrose24) January 4, 2015
Great photo of the guy throwing his Leafs jersey onto the ice in Winnipeg tonight. (Kevin King/QMI Agency Photo) pic.twitter.com/O6PJZfTzKQ— Ian Shantz (@IanShantz) January 4, 2015