Before the drop of the puck the Winnipeg Jets took a moment to recognize Chris Thorburn by awarding him the Dan Snyder Memorial Award. Well deserved Thorbs! Additionally we must point out that Mark Scheifele, Michael Frolik and Jim Slater were the only players to play all 82 games this year.
There seemed to be some early jitters for both of the backup goaltenders and I think they would both like a second chance at those goals. Hutch got himself out of position and had barely gotten back square to the net when Michael Ferland batted the puck out of midair into the top corner past him. Just 15 seconds later Drew Stafford fired a shot that seemed to handcuff Joni Ortio and trickled into the Calgary goal. The game opened with a bang and seemed we might be in for a track meet.
For the remainder of the First period and the balance of the second no other goals would be scored. This lull made me think of how few times recently, I could relax and just watch a game. For the record, the fourth line of Tlusty, Slater and Thorburn is by far the best fourth line we have ever seen. They were the most consistant players through 60 minutes and I am proud to have these guys as our checking line heading into the playoffs.
Sara Orlesky did some interviews in the 1st and 2nd intermission with Kevin Chevyldayoff and Mark Chipman which were both great interviews to watch. I remember my early days in the business world when I first started talking to executives. It was hard for me to think of these big wigs as regular people. What was interesting about these interviews is how it allowed us to see the "fan" inside of our GM and part Owner. Over the last few weeks in the stress filled playoff chase I have learned that I am not alone in the behavior of yelling at the TV in triumph or outrage a time or two and it is great to see they are essentially no different.
Speaking of Sara, I'm going to miss TSN broadcasts in the playoffs. They run a tight ship on TSN3 and we have been really spoiled to watch 60+ games this year. Thanks to the Sheriff, Dennis Beyak and the rest of the crew on TSN3 this year.
In the 3rd period, the floodgates open and I finally got the chance to write about the strong play of some of our other jets. Michael Frolik was moved to the line with Stafford and Scheifele tonight and looked right at home. Frolik opened the scoring in the 3rd period and these 3 guys looked great together. Not that I think this will happen, but if they wanted to reunite Ladd, Little and Wheeler this would still be a highly effective second line.
Lee Stempniak continues to demonstrate why the jets pursued him so hard in the offseason and looks terrific in a Winnipeg Jets sweater. I would love to see the Jets resign him for a couple of years. He played along side Matt Halischuk and Andrew Copp who was making his NHL debut. Copp looked quite comfortable for his first game as a professional and played just over 13 minutes and had 4 shots on goal. He made a great play in the neutral zone intercepting a pass and then springing Stempniak for his 15th goal of the season. This line also added some insurance with 1 minute left in the game.
Adam Lowry continued his strong play in his rookie campaign and I think the opposing team are starting to get paranoid when they see him coming. His strong fore checking game was rewarded with an unassisted goal late in the game. With the 4 hits he delivered today he is currently tied for tenth in the league with 256 hits with Milan Lucic. I'm not so sure that will stand but that is an impressive amount of physicality for a young rookie... Just imagine when his 6'5 frame fills out.
During the 2014-15 regular season the Winnipeg Jets and their fans have been through a lot of adversity. Today we can celebrate the fact that our Jets set a franchise record for points with 99. Midway through the third a new chant rose from the stands that I think we might hear more of going forward. No it wasn't one of our original chants like "Pomo's better" it was simple and reflective of our next goal... To bring the Stanley Cup to Winnipeg. "WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP!"