The Jets welcomed an age-old rival (not really, but close enough) to home turf this evening, laying out a tear-stained welcome mat for the Vegas Golden Knights. For anyone with a short memory, it was the Knights who held the exit door open for Winnipeg during the Western Conference Finals. As you can imagine, the memory is still a bit raw. New season, new opportunities, though, and the Jets had a chance to knock the NHL’s new kids on the block down a peg.
The First Period
Both teams meant a fair bit of business tonight, and the early returns showed. The opening period was a bit of a tug-of-war, with each squad gaining stretches of offensive control before settling in against counterattacks. It was good, even hockey, and the Jets have to like that against a strong, dangerous Knights team. Brossoit and Fleury faced a few decent scoring chances and shut the door, keeping the period level at 0-0.
While Winnipeg didn’t record a tally, it’s a better sign to see them show up against a playoff team (and, arguably, a contender). The Jets haven’t fared terribly well against the cream of the crop, only impressing in one particular victory against Cup favourite Tampa Bay. Getting some traction against quality competition will hopefully lead to better results going forward.
The Second Period
The “better results going forward” apparently didn’t apply to this particular game. The refs had a bit of a field day, calling numerous infractions against the Jets. The volume of penalties was a bit heavy-handed, and the period had an uneven flow for Winnipeg. The Knights more or less paddled the Jets throughout, getting an uncomfortable amount of action from behind the net and in the low slot. Brossoit was extremely busy, but kept the puck from crossing the line on some tremendous opportunities for Vegas.
Luck finally broke for Winnipeg on an early PK, with Kyle Connor blowing past a Knights skater to score a short-handed tally. Fleury bit hard on Connor’s deft deke, and all of Winnipeg exhaled....temporarily, at least. Vegas looked pretty pissed and continued to make Winnipeg’s life miserable. The Knights even had a 5-on-3 power play, but failed to solve Brossoit’s wall impression. Late in the period, an industrious shift from Mathieu Perreault saw him embarrass Deryk Engelland for a highlight reel goal to extend the lead. Not bad at all, Frenchy. With a 2-0 advantage, the Jets headed into the locker-room cautiously optimistic.
The Third Period
Vegas is pretty scary, man. They can go for long stretches with some relatively harmless point shots, but their transition-counter game can kill you quickly. This time, it was the point shot that caught the Jets off-guard. The Knights had an extremely early offensive zone cycle going, setting up Brayden McNabb for an off-speed point shot that seemed an easy save. Subtly, Brandon Pirri deflected it just enough to throw Brossoit’s timing off and the shutout was spoiled.
Brossoit quickly recovered and continued to hold Winnipeg’s 1-goal lead, fending off some unbelievable net-front opportunities. He obviously had some help from his defenders and a few fortunate bounces, but one cannot discredit Brossoit’s performance in the slightest. It was magnificent to behold, and I already love the man. Connor and Scheifele padded the lead with a few empty net goals and Brossoit preserved a sparkling .977 sv% at the end of the game. Winnipeg has a new King of the North, and his name is Laurent BrossWall.
- Laurent Brossoit was awesome. Again.
- The Lowry line had an unreal evening. Nice to see them not getting plastered.
- The Niku-Morrow pairing is disastrous, and you can guess which of the two has been more responsible for it sucking (it ain’t Sami).
- The penalty calls were not so fun tonight. The Jets held tough, though.