The Winnipeg Jets have had a curious season, one marked by middling play covered by insane goalscoring. It’s not often that the Jets have dominated opponents. Even the 7-1 thumping of the Flyers over the weekend saw a significant amount of time where Winnipeg was stifled. Enter the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that’s limped through the past several weeks, in danger of collapsing under the weight of its deadweight roster. Did the Hawks muster up enough to eke out a win, or did the Jets handle business as expected?
The First Period
Winnipeg didn’t handle business as expected. It absolutely crushed that business, steamrolling a Chicago team that wants nothing more than the end of the season. The Hawks were immediately pressured from the puck drop, forechecked deep into the defensive zone and harassed for long stretches. Not one skater on the Hawks roster had an easy time exiting the zone, and most looked completely overwhelmed by Winnipeg’s skill and speed on the puck.
It didn’t take the Jets long to find their reward. An early power play saw a Dustin Byfuglien point shot deflected by Mark Scheifele. Cam Ward didn’t appear to recognize the tip and watched the puck scream past him. Things didn’t improve for the veteran netminder, as Jack Roslovic set-up an easy Tyler Myers one-timer just a few minutes later. The game couldn’t get worse, could it?
Oh, but it did get worse. Kyle Connor raced through the neutral zone and sped around Chicago’s defenders, jamming himself into the slot. He attempted a shot that bounced off a Hawks skate, collected the rebound, and slapped it past Ward to put Winnipeg up 3-0. The Jets, despite the commanding lead, kept pressuring for another goal. The Hawks put up a meager response, testing Jets back-up Laurent Brossoit with a scant few shots late in the period, but to no avail. The Jets were firmly in control of the proceedings.
The Second Period
The Jets let off the gas pedal a bit and allowed Chicago to make some offensive counters. Slowly but surely, the Hawks began to look like an actual NHL team. Despite the push from Chicago, Winnipeg struck early in the period with another goal from Connor, this one a rebound opportunity on the power play. The joy was short-lived as Dylan Strome caught Brossoit challenging out of his crease too far, clawing one back less than 30 seconds after the Connor goal.
The Hawks continued to make life an adventure for Winnipeg, peppering Brossoit with a decent amount of netfront looks and some troublesome point shots through traffic. Dominik Kahun cashed in on the pressure, batting him a rebound Laurent failed to corral. Winnipeg’s lead was now cut to 2 goals, and things started to feel a bit worrisome. The Jets with a lead have had some, ahhh, issues. Thankfully, Brossoit bailed Winnipeg out on some extremely dangerous chances, one right before the whistle from Strome. Ward also made some dazzling stops of his own, including robberies of Laine and Connor. When all was said and done, the first 40 minutes ended with Winnipeg up 4-2.
The Third Period
Chicago wanted to make life interesting for the Jets, and applied additional pressure at the start of the third. Alex DeBrincat finally capitalized on the pressure, firing a shot from along the wall that somehow deflected off of Brossoit’s pad and into the net. It was an ugly, ugly goal for Winnipeg to concede, and you can bet more than a few of us were sweating. As Chicago’s shot totals climbed ever higher, so too did my feelings of anxiety.
For all ails, the antidote is Mathieu Perreault. The Frenchman thought it’d be great to bag a goal and deposited a rebound on the power play for his fourth tally on the season. Brandon Tanev made it 6-3 a few minutes later, filling the empty net and our hearts with joy. Winnipeg closed out a game that ended up being a bit more dramatic than it needed to be, but a win’s a win. On to Hitchcock’s Oilers on Thursday and, hopefully, another victory!
- The power play scored quite a bit tonight. The Jets have to lean on it, what with the lesser 5v5 scoring, so more PP goals is alright in my book.
- Ehlers and Connor were feeling it, man. Nice night for both forwards.
- Chicago’s first period. My goodness, was that atrocious to watch.
- Brossoit had a nerve-wracking outing, though he did enough to keep Winnipeg in the lead.