The Winnipeg Jets entered the territory of the Calgary Flames for some old-fashioned Western Canadian hockey. Winnipeg, with a strong 12-5-2 record thus far, needed to bring its A-game against a roster that just steamrolled the Vegas Golden Knights 7-2 a few days ago. What unfolded was anything but the Jets at their best, and Winnipeg couldn’t get on the plane to Minnesota fast enough. Some nights, you’re going to suck, but this was an especially humiliating display for a team that isn’t typically one to be embarrassed.
The First Period
Everything seemed great at the puck-drop, with the Jets immediately creating some offensive pressure. Net-front chaos in front of Calgary back-stop (and lovable human being) David Rittich led to an early Brandon Tanev goal, just 25 seconds in. Everything afterwards, however, went to absolute poo-town very quickly. I’ve had occasion to discuss Tyler Myers in his own end quite frequently, and tonight was an especially bad evening for the resident giraffe. Just 2 minutes after Tanev gave the Jets the go-ahead goal, Myers fumbled a turnover along the boards that created chaos near Connor Hellebuyck. Dillon Dubé capitalized and scored his first career NHL goal. Congrats Dillon!
The comedy of errors continued unabated, with Winnipeg repeatedly turning over the puck in the defensive zone. Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk took advantage of Winnipeg’s miscues, adding 2 more markers to swell the first period lead. The 3-1 lead ended Hellebuyck’s night and out came Jets Hero Laurent Brossoit. Unfortunately for Brossoit, Winnipeg wasn’t getting any better, and a puck deflected off of Myers’ skate and into the net to grant Mark Jankowski his second tally of the season. Johnny Gaudreau ripped a shot a few minutes later to cap the cherry on top of what was an absolute trashfire period for the Jets. Winnipeg hasn’t given up more than 3 or 4 goals frequently, but it’s going to happen once in a while. Be cool if it wasn’t all because of poor play from the Jets.
The Second Period
It was largely too little, too late, but Winnipeg came back with a vengeance after the first frame beatdown. The Jets looked more like their old selves, generating a ton of offensive zone pressure and stifling most of Calgary’s breakouts. The Flames are a very strong team, and Winnipeg played like they should have in the opening 20 minutes. The Jets drew several penalties, testing Rittich from numerous angles and keeping the young netminder honest. Unfortunately for the Jets, Big Save Dave more than lived up to his new moniker.
Thankfully, Patrik Laine made the scoreline a little less miserable-looking with a late even-strength goal, beating the end of the period with just a few seconds remaining. Winnipeg came off of a dangerous but technically fruitless power play, with Laine finding the open shooting lane on an empty net to make it 5-2. The box score was still unsightly, but at least Laine potted another 5v5 goal. All in all, this was a respectable response from the Jets, even if it likely didn’t impact the outcome.
The Third Period
The Flames weren’t content to rest on the 3-goal led, and set about to create more offensive pressure after playing incredibly passive hockey the previous period. The Jets, for their part, matched them stride for stride, continuing to put a multitude of pucks on net. Rittich had to remain vigilant as the Jets peppered his cage from all sides. An early power play for Winnipeg brought yet another Laine goal, who now has 5 in his last 2 games. It appears the rumors of Patrik’s demise were greatly exaggerated.
Despite Winnipeg’s surge, it wasn’t enough to fill the hole they created for themselves. Calgary iced the game with an empty-net goal and called it a day. The Jets will need to be significantly sharper than they were tonight against Minnesota. Like the Flames, the Wild are a skilled, dangerous team. This game was probably more an anomaly than a trend, but the Jets need to ensure it remains that way.
- Patrik Laine is scoring again. Yay!
- Congrats to Dillon for his first career goal, one of many to come.
- Big Save Dave made many big saves, indeed.
- Winnipeg’s first period, yikes. It was a disasterpiece.
- Tyler Myers. I don’t need to say more.
- Hellebuyck wasn’t sharp. He’s been lackluster this season, all told.