Winnipeg’s Pacific Division road-trip has been a turbulent ride, to say the least. An opening 4-1 loss to LA was evened out by a wild and woolly 5-3 victory over San Jose.
The Jets flew to Vancouver to close out their pre-Christmas activities, a game that wasn’t going to be as easy as it looked.
The Canucks aren’t a great squad, generally speaking, but have gotten some stronger goaltending and goal contributions from enough lines to eke out an over-.500 record by points. If Winnipeg was to come out the victor, it would need a good performance to close the road-trip out.
The First Period
The Jets held the early edge in shot attempts and shots on-goal, rolling over the Canucks at even-strength. Vancouver netminder Jacob Markstrom was busy, facing some shots from close in. Nic Petan set-up two glorious chances for his linemates and drew a penalty in the same sequence. Petan continues to be a positive presence in the line-up, and will hopefully remain a fixture once Andrew Copp is healthy. In a rare turn, the Jets power play failed to score. A few minutes later, the Canucks also got a good power play opportunity. Despite several very dangerous looks, Laurent Brossoit calmly kept the puck ahead of him and the scoreline even.
The only notable moment of the period came in the first minute, when Blake Wheeler took a Byfuglien shot to the ribs. He emerged from the locker-room just a few minutes later, but labored enough to bring more than a few beads of sweat to the brow. Blake’s pretty important to Winnipeg, especially on the power play, so keeping him healthy is critical. Mark Scheifele also had a bit of a spill in the corner but came away unscathed. No harm, no foul. On to the second frame!
The Second Period
I could tell you the Jets were really, really atrocious this period. I could, but honestly, just know Laurent Brossoit was a beast. 17 shots, 17 saves. Some were of the annoying deflected variety. None got through. Merry Christmas, Winnipeg!
The Third Period
If you stayed awake to watch this, I salute you. The final 20 minutes of this game were absolutely brutal. Both teams had very few shots on goal, with Vancouver owning most of the dangerous scoring chances but continually putting those chances wide. For the pucks that did find the net area, Brossoit answered the call yet again. Winnipeg continued to look very, very tired, but somehow refused to concede a goal.
Vancouver’s efforts to draw first blood were all for naught. In the last minute and a half, the impossible happened and Mark Scheifele one-timed a pass between Markstrom and the near-post. The Canucks then went into full-court press and came this close to tying the game with Markstrom pulled. Somehow, some way, Laurent became the BrossWall and held firm, earning his first career NHL shutout. Congrats bud, you heckin’ earned it! With that, I’d like to wish you a happy holidays. See you next Thursday!
- Laurent Brossoit. Just sensational from the lad.
- Mark Scheifele, bad night overall, clutch goal when it mattered.
- Nic Petan was awesome. Winnipeg’s best forward.
- Let’s just skip this section for tonight...