The Winnipeg Jets entered the evening with yet another contest against a Central Division rival. Their opponents, however, have maintained a much-better record than the previous opposition in Dallas. The Colorado Avalanche are a strange squad, getting a huge chunk of scoring from the top line. The rest of the team is a bit of a mess, but sleeping on Nate MacKinnon and company is a mistake. Were the Jets taught a bitter lesson, or did Winnipeg prevail in an age-old bout?
The First Period
In the game against Dallas, the Jets immediately created offensive pressure against a middling Stars roster. You might have expected a similar effort against an Avs team lacking further quality depth. You’d be wrong. The Jets looked slow, sloppy, and overmatched by Colorado’s top-9. The MacKinnon line was especially dominant, smacking around Mark Scheifele’s unit on the regular. Connor Hellebuyck was tested early and often, having to account for a poor performance from his skaters.
As bad as the Jets were, it didn’t stop them from scoring an early goal, courtesy of French wonderfellow Mathieu Perreault. Hellebuyck made a crucial stop, allowing Brandon Tanev to create a breakout and find Perreault for a slick goal. Grubauer got walked, and his night didn’t get any better when Kyle Connor tucked in a power play goal several minutes later. Netfront chaos on the mad advantage led to a shot finding its way past Grubauer. Scheifele and Connor took turns batting at it until it squeaked over the line.
The celebrations were a bit tempered when Gabriel Landeskog added a power play marker of his own before the end of the period. At the whistle, the Jets had accrued a meager 4 shots, with Colorado owning most of the play. Thankfully, that good ol’ Winnipeg shooting talent saved some early heartache...at least for the time being.
The Second Period
Winnipeg wasn’t much better in the next frame, taking an early penalty that likely saved a goal against. The Avs, though leading on the shot clock by a healthy margin, weren’t defending well at all. They paid dearly on the power play, with Scheifele and Wheeler working some beautiful passing to create a perfect shorthanded tally. Remarkably, that was only Blake’s 7th goal of the season.
Bryan Little padded the lead 3 minutes later, grabbing a nice goal from a perfect Tyler Myers slap-pass at the blueline. The Avs were undeterred by the scoreline and continued to prey upon a sloppy Jets squad. Winnipeg’s team defense was abysmal, and Colorado got a ridiculous amount of low-slot opportunity served on a silver platter. Eventually, that came to haunt the Jets, with Carl Soderberg getting a great breakaway goal on a puck that bounced on Kulikov. A minute later, Ryan Graves cut the Winnipeg lead to 1 goal with a wraparound attempt. Just bad play from the Jets all around.
The Third Period
The Jets were fortunate Colorado wasn’t defending, as Andrew Copp and Brendan Lemieux worked a bit of offensive zone pressure to nab a greasy goal. It created some separation in the scoreline, but not enough to make anyone feel comfortable. If the Jets have proven one thing, it’s that no lead is safe. Luckily, Scheifele decided it was time to end his goal drought and batted in a glorious breakaway goal. After having his teeth kicked in against Colorado’s top-line, a free tally had to have felt relieving.
The Avs still believed they had a chance and pulled Grubauer with several minutes remaining. The Jets looked very disorganized and let Colorado run rampant in the defensive zone. Landeskog took the opportunity to deflect a MacKinnon shot past Hellebuyck, again making Winnipeg’s lead dicey. The Jets responded with the world’s most laborious empty net goal ever. Seriously, you have to watch the sequence. In an empty net scenario that saw Connor, Wheeler, and Scheifele pass the puck around, it was Trouba who got the goal credit. Bizarre stuff from a bizarre game. So it goes!
- Hellebuyck held the fort down during the first period. He wasn’t as sharp later on, but thems the breaks.
- Winnipeg scored goals!
- Winnipeg also gave up goals, and generally speaking, the run of play. Yikes lads.
- The Jets miss Ehlers and Byfuglien a lot, and it’s not like the team was rolling when it had both. Things might get grim at some point.