It wasn’t a battle royale, and it wasn’t the best they had played in the last fortnight, but the Winnipeg Jets (4-2-1) did enough to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1, scoring three times in the third period. The effort was lead by Dustin Byfuglien’s three points (1+2) in his first game back after missing a pair with injury.
It was the first and only time the team banned from playing Fortnite on the road will visit Winnipeg this year, with two matchups in Vancouver later this season.
Patrik Laine on Vancouver’s decision to ban video games on the road: “They need something to blame after last year.” #NHLJets— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) October 3, 2018
The First Period
Maybe Patrik Laine’s words motivated the Canucks (4-3-0), as they controlled the early momentum, putting up seven shots to Winnipeg’s one with 14:02 left in the first. While the Jets were the better team from that point forward, it took them a while for things to really get clicking. Blake Wheeler took a hooking penalty late in the third, only for it to be nullified less than a minute later when Alex Edler tripped up Andrew Copp.
On the ensuing power play for the Jets, it was a case of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try again’, as a Patrik Laine one-timer from Blake Wheeler didn’t work the first time, but on the same cycle found pay-dirt with 1:04 left in the period. The first period ended 1-0, with the Jets leading on shots 11-8.
The Canucks were arguably the better team in the second period. It showed on the shot board (12 shots to the Jets’ nine), and it showed on the scoreboard when Bo Horvat tied things up with 7:06 left in the period when he charged at Jacob Trouba with speed and managed to dipsy doodle around him and slip one past Connor Hellebuyck.
Alex Edler and Tyler Myers exchanged pleasantries near the end of the period to earn off-setting penalties. Myers emerged from the box and promptly earned a goaltender interference penalty, meaning the Jets would start the final frame short a (tall) man.
After killing off the Myers penalty, Edler took his third trip to the box of the game after tripping Adam Lowry. On the ensuing power play, the second unit grabbed the lead as Nikolaj Ehlers found Bryan Little cutting through the middle, whose backhand shot handcuffed Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson.
Little had a chance to extend the lead denied by iron, as a shot found both the corssbar and the post. Andrew Copp succeeded where Little did not, as he shot the puck off the post, off Nilsson’s leg and in with 7:14 left. He called bank, so it’s okay.
Dustin Byfuglien wrapped up the scoring when a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers to Bryan Little caused two Canucks defender and the goalie to slide over to commit to the shot, only for Little to feed Big Buff streaking to the net to tap the puck into the yawning cage, sending the fans home happy on Canadian Armed Forces appreciation night (Go Army).
- After disappearing in the third period against Edmonton, Connor Hellebuyck re-emerged to turn aside 26 of 27 shots against.
- Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little showed some good chemistry tonight, with great passes from Ehlers to Little leading to a pair of goals.
- Patrik Laine scored, thus proving that Fortnite is bad.
- Josh Morrissey is good at hockey.
- Brendan Lemieux’s penalty minutes exceeded his time on ice. Of course, this was due to a 10-minute “hit the showers early” penalty, but it’s also because he only played 8:53 in a game the Jets had in hand with seven minutes left.
- I’m out of egg nog.