The Winnipeg Jets closed out their four game road trip with a hard fought game in Tampa Bay vs the Lightning. Thankfully, the Winnipeg Jets were able to pull out a much needed win versus a quality opponent.
A Bunch of Thoughts:
Shots were 22-12 in favor of the Jets after two periods and 29-16 at the end of the game. Who would have expected that given all the injuries?
To that note, the Jets were definitely the better team tonight. They won on the scoreboard and laid down a whooping on the Corsis. It was nice to see them do this against a quality opponent.
Mark Scheifele gave all of Winnipeg a scare when he hit the ice following a knee on knee collision. It looked like another blow from the Hockey Gods to an already injury ravaged teams. Thankfully, he returned to the game.
Toby Enstrom gave fans a scare as well. As anticipated, Toby Enstrom logged huge minutes tonight. He was playing well too, but he was the victim of a huge, illegal hit that knocked him out of the game. He remains a steadying presence for the Winnipeg Jets blue line. If they were to loose him, it would be another massive hit to their dwindling playoff hopes. Thankfully he returned to the game and despite leaving to get stitched up he led the team in ice with more than 24 minutes.
Jacob Trouba continues to dominate despite his young age. It will be interesting to watch his continued development. Trouba, Scheifele and Adam Lowry are all strong players and they play incredibly important positions. How good will they be at 23 or 24 as they approach their primes?
Eric O`Dell was moved back to his natural position of centre. He made an number of plays in all three zones that Anthony Peluso can't. It was nice to see him stick in the lineup.
Paul Postma returned to the ice after a long stretch in the press box.His possession numbers weren't great, but he made a few smart plays and he was asked to play 23 minutes of hockey - the third highest total of his career.
Matt Halischuk also returned to action. He wasn't noticeably strong, but he wasn't noticeably bad and that was a step up over some of the 4th line talent that we've seen this year.
The new guys. What would the Jets roster look like without Drew Stafford, Jiri Tlusty and Lee Stempniak? Who would be playing their minutes? It would be ugly. The trio also combined to score the Jets game tying goal.
Ondrej Pavelec made a number of quality saves over the game's first 40 minutes and can't really be faulted for the Nikita Kucherov goal. That was an absolute snipe. All in, Pav played well. It was nice to see him bounce back.
Related to that, let me rant about playing the angles. It may be a random thought, but relevant here and pretty much every night. Playing the angles is very very very important for goalies, but I am not sure people really grasp what it means. There are very few places a goalie can go that remove 100% of the shooter's options. This is true for every NHL goalie. A goalie's job is to play the odds, to place themselves in the location that will give them the best odds of reacting to make a save. There is no guarantee that a puck will hit them. A well placed shot with enough speed ALWAYS has the potential to beat the goalie. Many shooters miss. Sometimes the goalie gets lucky. He can play a great angle and get beat they can also play the angle poorly and watch the shooter miss - sometimes wide, sometimes into their pads. These things are highly variable.
Blake Wheeler's goal is another example. Andrei Vasilevskiy played they angle well, but Blake beat him - post and in. It was a pretty goal. Great play by Wheeler.
Adam Pardy made another couple nice dangles tonight. How have none of these resulted in a goal? It will be a highlight reel goal when it happens.