The Winnipeg Jets played their fifth game of a 6-game home-stand against the hated St. Louis Blues. The Jets downed the Blues in a previous away fixture a couple weeks ago, though Winnipeg was generally fighting the run of play for most of the game. Would Winnipeg repeat its 5-1 shellacking of their rivals from the Deep South, or would the Blues bite back with a vengeance? The answer, surprisingly, is both.
The First Period
You’d be forgiven for wondering if the Jets knew the game had started. The arch nemesis of Tim Horton’s, one Ryan O’Reilly, opened the account for St. Louis on a perfect feed from David Perron scarcely a minute into the game. I’m not sure if Winnipeg was taking a nap, but that was quite the wake-up call. Evidently, the Jets didn’t really hear it.
The Blues continued to pile on shot after shot, hounding the Jets in Winnipeg’s defensive end and making life very annoying. Amusingly, the Blues generated nothing below the hash-marks, preferring to blast the puck from great distances beyond the face-off circles. One of those long-distance shots beat Connor Hellebuyck, with Colton Parayko earning credit for the marker. Not exactly a great start to the game for the Jets, to say the least.
Winnipeg did grab a response goal from a power play. Mark Scheifele banked the puck off of Jake Allen’s pads from below the goal-line, cutting the Blues lead to 2-1. After that, the Blues went right back to running the scoring chance and shot clock show, leading by a healthy margin in both categories. Most importantly, however, they did not score.
The Second Period
Winnipeg began to show some signs of life, stringing together a few decent breakouts and generating a handful of scoring chances. Both teams generally played a bit of a listless second frame, with Winnipeg earning a handful of power play opportunities that the team failed to capitalize on. The Blues, though content to let the Jets do a bit more, were not done scoring.
A bit of net-front chaos on a St. Louis power play saw defenseman Vince Dunn potting an easy marker, restoring the Blues’ 2-goal lead. The PK is still a bit of a mess, big shocker, but it faced a much stiffer test after Brandon Tanev decided to try and decapitate O’Reilly. It wasn’t the worst boarding major we’ve seen, but Tanev made a rather poor decision on his hit from behind. Winnipeg was tasked with killing off a 5-minute power play, which the Blues slightly alleviated with a minor penalty of their own. Neither team scored on the 4v4 situation, so the Jets still had a solid 3 minutes of penalty time to wallow in their existential dread. Thank goodness St. Louis didn’t make the most of the opportunity, because things might have gotten beyond Winnipeg’s reach.
The Third Period and Overtime
With Tanev out for the rest of the game, Maurice’s favorite Line Blender started revving up. Laine joined Scheifele and Wheeler, Connor was paired with Little and Ehlers, and Perreault replaced Tanev alongside Lowry. Suddenly, the Jets looked like the fearsome juggernaut of last season and absolutely plastered the Blues, smearing their remains across centre-ice. Ben Chiarot kicked off the scoring a minute into the period with a puck that somehow zipped past Allen. Traffic screened Jake’s vision but that’s not a great one to give up, boss.
Scheifele made it 3-3 just a few minutes later, jamming home a rebound that left Allen completely helpless. This forced the Blues to take a time-out, with Yeo likely needing to change his pants. Apparently, the respite had the intended effect because Perron grabbed the lead a mere two minutes later. Tyler Myers and Joe Morrow had a bit of a horror-show moment, leaving Perron an opportunity he declined to miss. Things were once again looking bleak. The Jets were undaunted, relentlessly pursuing the leveling score.
With 2 minutes remaining, the Jets pulled Hellebuyck and opted for the extra man. Winnipeg hit absolute paydirt, with Bryan Little scoring his third goal of the campaign and, more importantly, tying the affair. Both teams advanced to our favored 3v3 overtime period, with Scheifele, Wheeler, and Trouba playing huge swaths of the timeslot. Finally, Scheifele dug the puck out from along the wall, and skated behind the Blues net before finding Kyle Connor in the slot. Connor made a one-time slap pass to Jacob Trouba who promptly deposited the puck in the net. Just like that, the Jets had secured a victory from certain defeat. Winning ugly won’t get Winnipeg far, but it was enough tonight.
- Mark Scheifele is amazing. There’s virtually nothing he won’t do for this team, and he put on quite the show tonight.
- Bryan Little is rounding a bit more into form after a tough season last year. While he won’t fill the 2C role perfectly, he can do a lot worse than contributing to the scoring.
- Ben Chiarot had the game of his career, scoring a critical second-period goal and assisting on another. He’s not had the best of seasons thus far, but shouldered the burden well tonight.
- The fourth line played roughly 5 minutes tonight. Sorry, Maurice, that ain’t gonna cut it.
- Blake Wheeler is clearly dealing with a serious injury. It caused him endless frustration this evening, and he had trouble restraining his emotions as he returned to the bench. Whatever ails him needs to be dealt with, or this season could be a long one for the captain.
- The Blues sucked, man. After a dominant first period, they stopped playing and got crushed. Yeo should be looking at his seat with a bit more consternation after this wretched start to the season.