The Winnipeg Jets are playing hockey again after a week off following a jaunt over to Finland and I am:
- worried that they will forget how to hockey
- really enthralled by a book and not liking that they are playing hockey right now.
The Jets are going with their normal lines and defensive pairings as well as goalie. The nice thing about Connor Hellebuyck playing as their normal goalie is that he has already gotten two games off this year. That is a better ratio than he had when he took over as the starter for the Jets, even when Steve Mason was healthy.
The Jets start off better than I was expecting and they continue that play throughout the period. While the Colorado Avalanche have a great first line, the rest of the forwards are lacking in anything. Also, there were multiple Avs that I was confused that they are playing for them. Like Ian Cole or Matt Calvert.
Anyways, the Jets fourth line showed some nice skill early on after Dustin Byfuglien jumped on a turnover inside the Avs line and sent Nic Petan in with Andrew Copp on a two on zero. While it did not end in a goal, that is more skill from the fourth line than they showed with Brendan Lemieux. The Jets did break the stalemate on the power play thanks to a Kyle Connor goal. The Jets did not let up on the slightly porous Avs and added a second goal for good luck from Mark Scheifele at a not great angle.
The Jets continued their solid play until the end of the period and the Avs continued to look like a team that could be something if only they had more.
The Winnipeg Jets continued their first period play throughout the second. While they took a few penalties, they were able to kill them off without much trouble. One thing that is starting to bother me about the penalty kill is the fact that Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler start the penalty kill instead of finish it. They would be more effective offensively if they got the tired power play unit (or the second unit) instead of the fresh unit. Adam Lowry and Andrew Copp can handle the start just fine.
The other concern I have is that Dmitry Kulikov is out again with an upper-body injury. While I did not see the hit that hurt him (I was making tea this time), I am always worried about his back as he has missed significant time throughout the years with back problems and underwent surgery last year.
All that aside, the Jets have now played two decent periods in a row, do not look like they are relying too much on Hellebuyck, and are killing penalties rather nicely. Sure, they got outshot 12-7, but they were also out power-played 3-1. It all evens out.
This period went a bunch of different ways and yet all those ways led to the Jets winning. They did concede two goals, but they also responded to those goals quickly. Blake Wheeler contributed to all five of the goals the Jets scored and he looked much more like himself doing it. Talking to an unbiased third party on Twitter, his underlying numbers are coming around, which was a major concern of mine.
The hilarity of Patrik Laine not being able to score at even strength continues and I say hilarity because he is getting so many good chances. One of those has to go in soon. Not going to comment on the defence again because that is beating a dead horse.
- The Jets looked alive all game and it was great.
- I think only playing two games in two weeks helped Wheeler deal with whatever was ailing him.
- Petan/Roslovic/Copp is a good fourth line and should stay together.
- I asked people which player in the NHL they either forget about or they cannot understand how they are still there. Did you know that Blake Comeau is still in the NHL or Chris Kunitz. This is real life.