The Jets really earned their 4 – 3 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Things looked pretty dire for the Jets in the second period when the Jets gave up three power play goals, and lost defensemen Josh Morrissey and Nathan Beaulieu to injuries. However for tonight, that which did not kill the Jets, only made them stronger, as the team dug deep to earn what could be a character building victory.
Full credit to the Jets and True North for their Hockey Fights Cancer introduction, featuring several young Jets fans diagnosed with cancer, as well as a donation made from the club. It was a fast paced first period with the Blue Jackets Pierre-Luc Dubois striking first on the power play. Who knew his father is an assistant coach with the Moose? Not me. As a side note I liked the HNIC tandem of RJ Broadhead and Greg Millen. Informative, knowledgeable and controlled commentary. A nice change of pace I found from the TSN 3 broadcasts. Blake Wheeler tied the game up on a lovely feed from Jack Roslovic, and the period ended 1 – 1.
Nikolaj Ehlers had quite the period. First, he had an early scoring chance, followed almost immediately by a penalty on a questionable call, and capped off with a beautiful goal as exited of the penalty box which gave the Jets an early 2 – 1 lead. The referee gods are still not doing the Jets any favors this season. There were several dubious calls against the Jets which eventually led to a Blue Jackets two man advantage. The Blue Jackets took full advantage scoring two goals on that power play to take a 3 – 2 lead. Then, disaster struck. Morrissey took a puck to the leg, left the game and never returned. Nathan Beaulieu also took a puck to the upper body and did not return. This left the Jets playing four defensemen for essentially half the game. Mathieu Perreault tied the game up for the Jets at 3 – 3.
Most Jets fans were expecting the worst considering we were down to four defensemen. Surprisingly, the four stepped up to the task. Luca Sbisa and Tucker Poolman played well together. Dmitry Kulikov and Neal Pionk were solid as well. All of them earned our respect tonight. In a bizarre sequence, Laurent Brossoit left the game with about 11 minutes remaining. It did not appear that there was a specific cause to his injury, but he did go straight to the dressing room. Connor Hellebuyck who was in full day-off mode had to come into the game suddenly, and understandably needed a few minutes to get into the groove. He ended up making some good saves to keep the game tied. Fortunately for the Jets, the Blue Jackets rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins struggled a bit tonight. Particularly on the game winning goal when he sent an ill advised clearing pass right to Andrew Copp who put it past him for the game winner.
Three Take Aways:
Wheeler – Roslovic – Ehlers is the Jets best line
They were excellent tonight. Check out the tweet from Scott Billeck.
Ehlers-Wheeler-Roslovic is a very good line:— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) November 24, 2019
CF% - 57.32
CF/60 - 65.89
CA/60 - 49.07
xGF% - 57.02
xGF/60 - 1.99
XGA/60 - 1.50
More changes are coming for the Jets defense
Scott Billeck also reported post game that Morrissey “should be fine” and that Beaulieu “will need tests”. Tough break for Beaulieu as he has missed most of the season and has been playing well. Hopefully Morrissey’s vague prognosis means he will not miss any time. On the plus side, the members of the freeSamiNiku movement may get their wish.
I’m getting a bit worried about Patrick Laine
Cara posed the question as to whether Laine has actually improved this season. I think we have seen glimpses, and his assist numbers have been unexpectedly good. However, tonight, and last Thursday in Dallas, we have seen the return of invisible Patrick. The Laine that seems disengaged, out of position, giving up pucks and not creating any offense. I watched the Fox Sports South West feed of the Dallas game and the announcers were much more blunt about Laine’s giveaways and lack of effort than our homer broadcast team tends to be. I hope he turns it around, We need him to take a step to another level. But, I am worried. We had a very short window of “good” Patrick this season so far.