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Game Recap: Winnipeg Bitten by the Wifi-Powered Sharks

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A great game had a disappointing end.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets welcomed another Pacific Division opponent onto home ice, this team a fair bit better than the Anaheim Ducks. The San Jose Sharks, who boast one of the top offenses in the league, play a very dangerous passing game with some elite two-way defenders in tow. Winnipeg has elevated its game against top opponents before, and needed to do so again to secure 2 points. In this latest iteration of the Sharks vs. Jets, would Winnipeg fly high above the sea-bound competition?

The First Period

Things started really auspiciously for the Jets, with both Winnipeg and San Jose playing a fast-transition game. Winnipeg was clearly anticipating a difficult fight, and played evenly against strong opposition. It was the Jets who struck first, with Blake Wheeler wristing the puck over Martin Jones’ shoulder for an early 1-0 lead. The offensive zone entry and set-up sequence appeared to catch Jones off-guard, and Wheeler did not miss his opportunity.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The game got noticeably more complicated after a Jets penalty. San Jose connected on the power play after Josh Morrissey went down on a blocked shot. Couture was credited with the marker, and Morrissey went down the hallway. He didn’t return for the rest of the period, leaving us all with severe anxiety. While the Jets began the period well, the absence of Morrissey and spotty defensive coverage from the blueline group caused some havoc. Hellebuyck, for his part, made a number of strong saves and kept the damage to the single goal against. With Morrissey potentially out for the rest of the game, a difficult challenge only grew in stature.

The Second Period

Wow. Just wow. Winnipeg looked like a beast uncaged during the middle frame, hitting San Jose’s blueline with offensive onslaught after onslaught. The Jets created extreme low-slot pressure, doing to the Sharks what they’d done to Winnipeg earlier in the game. The efforts paid off with a nice Mathieu Perreault goal, getting the party started early. The Jets weren’t done, and continued to make San Jose look substandard.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose likely felt the pressure mounting and began to take some undisciplined penalties. The first Winnipeg power play of the period appeared to connect, with Scheifele ripping a one-timer from the space between the faceoff circles. The Sharks challenged the ruling, however, after San Jose recognized Trouba had failed to properly push the puck into the zone before Winnipeg’s forwards crossed the line.

Despite the goal being wave off, the Jets continued to dominate a strong roster handily. It was a crying shame that Winnipeg wasn’t rewarded with a goal. This was one of the strongest stretches of 20 minutes the team has played this season. Adding to the sadness was Morrissey’s early departure from the period. He barely skated one shift before heading off, and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. A speedy recovery to you, my blueline prince.

The Third Period and Overtime

The Sharks came roaring back with a vengeance, swinging the proverbial momentum pendulum firmly in their favor. San Jose peppered Hellebuyck from extremely dangerous angles, forcing him to remain vigilant during sequences of high net-front traffic. Winnipeg struggled to clear the zone and the bottom-pairing defensemen had an especially tough go of it. In the other end, the Jets didn’t apply a lot of pressure, mostly owing to a lack of quality offensive zone time.

Neither team was able to break the stalemate during the third, but the Jets were granted one glorious opportunity to do so before the expiration of the period. A power play with a minute and a half remaining gave Winnipeg a swell lifeline to sink the Sharks. For some ungodly reason, Maurice decided now was the time to take Laine off the first power play unit. I’m sorry, WHAT??? The power play had gone scoreless on several attempts, but had superior puck movement and shooting opportunities. Why would you experiment at the end of the period?

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The overtime period was a bit helter-skelter, but again the Jets were handed a gilt-edged chance to close the game out with a San Jose penalty. The resulting 4-on-3 power play was an absolute mess, and a chaotic pass that forced Laine into a tougher situation along the boards led to the Sharks forcing a turnover. The Sharks raced the other direction and Wheeler got turnstiled on a 2-on-1. Pavelski deposited the puck for a short-handed game-winner. What a bizarrely frustrating end to a game the Jets genuinely deserved better from.


Cheers

  • Congrats to Maurice on 1500 games! It’s hard for anyone to reach such a milestone, especially at Maurice’s age.
  • This was a great effort from the team. They’ve had their struggles recently, but have started to look more like their form from last season.
  • Hellebuyck was pretty strong, especially in the first period. Good game from Jones too, especially on the penalty kills.

Jeers

  • Morrissey going down is a gigantic downer. The Jets can’t afford to lose him.
  • Morrow and his compatriots had a tough go during long stretches of the evening. The loss of Morrissey only made Winnipeg’s lack of D depth all the more apparent.
  • The power play decisions tonight were galling, especially at the end of the game. I don’t know what happened, but the coaching staff may have wasted an extra point. I hope not.