The Winnipeg Jets needed a bit of a pick-me-up after a rocky run of form. The injury toll has taxed the Jets to an unexpected extent. This has been some of the worst hockey Winnipeg’s played since it relocated, and I don’t mean that figuratively. Getting a home game against the weakened New York Rangers presented an ideal opportunity to grab another 2 points, and give some struggling players a few points. That said, expecting a walkover was a mistake. The Rangers goalied a strong Leafs team just a few nights ago, so Winnipeg would need to be on its best behavior to consolidate the lead in the Central.
The First Period
If Winnipeg had any lingering anxieties from their struggles, they sure as heck didn’t show it. The Jets immediately looked the part of a superior team, generating offensive pressure against a poor defensive unit and testing Lundqvist with a number of good shots. Though most were from greater distances, the Jets still did enough to put themselves in fine winning form. Mark Scheifele opened the scoring, collecting a Joe Morrow slap-pass from the point. Scheifele delayed the shot, letting Lundqvist drift across the crease. His release caught the veteran netminder off-guard and the Jets went up 1-0.
The Rangers didn’t offer much resistance, save for the odd power play opportunity. Winnipeg did much to keep Hellebuyck’s netfront space relatively clear, yet pressed the advantage in the other end. A breakout from the top line saw Wheeler disrupt an opposing zone entry, then steam through the neutral zone with Scheifele. He sent the puck to Mark after drawing a few defenders to himself, and Scheifele ripped a long-distance wrister through Lundqvist. A 2-0 lead sure felt good, let me tell you.
The Second Period
The middle frame was significantly less kind to Winnipeg. The Jets backed off the pressure and allowed the Rangers to have a bit more offensive opportunities. It’s not surprising that Winnipeg adopted a bit more of a passive approach (score effects have been nuts this season anyways), but the Jets just got sloppy. Hellebuyck allowed an especially poor goal from an absurd angle, courtesy of Mika Zibanejad. The puck somehow went underneath Hellebuyck’s pads and deflected off the post, nestling into the back corner of the net. Not ideal, folks.
Winnipeg then started the penalty brigade routine, and this PK isn’t cut out for the task. It’s surrendered quite a few power play markers recently, and it’s not surprising the Jets allowed another one tonight. Combine this with a power play that still has Patrik Laine on the second unit, and I just don’t get it. Hockey is a remarkably complex sport, filled with all manner of complicating variables, chaotic occurrences, and random fortune. On the other hand, making both of your power play units completely ineffectual because your 20-year old goalscorer is having a really hard time seems extremely counterproductive. Stop making this so dang hard, Jets.
The Third Period
Before the end of the second period, Wheeler took a late penalty. The Rangers got most of the power play to start the final frame, and received another deflected goal to break the 2-2 tie. The puck bounced off of several Winnipeg skates and into the net. The Jets briefly looked a bit stunned before collecting themselves and getting to work. One particularly strong shift saw the top line create an extremely dangerous cycle, wearing down the Rangers defenders rapidly. Morrow found himself open and ripped a one-timer past Lundqvist. Tied once again.
Barely 2 minutes later, the 4th line continued it’s unholy streak of goalscoring, with Copp potting another tally to his name. I’m not sure what god of fortune the Jets prayed to, but it apparently bestowed a high sh% to the bottom-6. Handy, when the Jets top-6 has had some offensive struggles. Thankfully, Winnipeg didn’t give up any embarrassing game-tying goals against and came out with 2 points. Not the most attractive game, but it’ll do.
P.S.: Bring me Mark Stone or bring me death.
- Wins are good!
- The 4th line keeps scoring. Wild.
- Scheifele with a brace. Very nice!
- Special teams are a disaster.