The Winnipeg Jets took on the Ottawa Senators tonight, closing out their 4 game road trip. This was the second game of two back-to-back and while the Jets were sluggish early they turned it around late to take the game to OT. The final score was 3-2 Sens after the shootout.
1. As mentioned earlier, the Jets got off to a slow start. The Sens controlled the play early, but it didn't last. The Jets began to assert themselves near the halfway point of the game.
2. Perhaps the biggest factor in the turnaround was Dustin Byfuglien. He was beastly in the second half of the game making plays that only he makes. The one handed poke check that led to his goal would have led to an odd man rush against if he missed. He didn't. It was a great play and one that more wouldn't dare attempt.
3. Byfuglien wasn't the Winnipeg Jets only pending UFA that scored today. Captain Andrew Ladd also scored himself a goal. Go Captain!
4. Bryan Little could have had himself a handful of goals tonight. He was impressive making a number of highlight reel plays.
5. The kids played well again too - even if they didn't land on the score sheet. Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele along with Mathieu Perreault were the Jets' top possession line.
6. It wasn't all roses for the Jets. The least played 4th line in the NHL continued to play very few minute, and for good reason, they were bad again. It is frustrating watching Nic Petan wasted along side two players that can't pass. Even if he makes a play, sending a pass to either winger all but ends a rush. We have been hearing about the Jets improved 4th line taking on more minutes, but they are still the least used line in the league.
7. Also in the bad was Ben Chiarot. After an excellent preseason, Benny has been struggling. He struggled a lot tonight and found himself benched as a result. Here is to hoping that he pulls out of this slump. If not, we might have to see him rotate out.
8. Mark Stuart also rotated out tonight. With Benny sitting, Stu followed suit and we saw a great deal of Jacob Trouba paired with Tyler Myers. Top 4 D playing top 4 minutes is nice.
9. On a related note, coach Paul Maurice mentioned in a recent presser that he thought 5 defensemen was actually the ideal amount for a team to use. Interesting thought for sure.
10. All this chatter and I haven't mentioned Michael Hutchinson. He had himself a really nice game. After a nightmare outing in Montreal, the Jets number two netminder stopped a lot of pucks. Hutch finished with 29 saves on 31 shots, pulling his save percentage back up to a .927. He made a number of 5 bell saves, but perhaps more importantly he got back on track after the mess in Montreal.
What did you think of tonight's game?