What a whirlwind of emotions it’s been for a month. It feels like the Jets have gone through just about everything a team might experience in a year, condensed into a single month. Hopefully, the most turbulent times are behind us, because the Jets are hot on the trail of a Wild Card spot after looking like pretenders for half the season. With a win against Chicago over the weekend, could the Jets keep the momentum going in the last game of this homestand?
Things did not get off to an ideal start. Dustin Brown got a bit of a greasy goal in the first minute after Connor Hellebuyck misplayed a rebound. Whoof. Things settled down after that, though, and the Kings and Jets went for a bit of a skate. The shot clocks were decently busy, with both teams exchanging end-to-end counters. I thought Winnipeg had somewhat better slot penetration, but Cal Petersen was looking sharp in LA’s net.
That sharpness was eventually going to get cracked, and Winnipeg’s third line played hero once again. Patrik Laine, on a late shift towards the middle portion of the second period, found a 2-on-1 opportunity with Jansen Harkins. Laine saucered a perfect dish to Harkins, who beat Petersen easily. Excellent. Only a few minutes later, the third line scored again, this one courtesy of a sweet Jack Roslovic NZ rush that led to Mason Appleton potting the goal as a trailer. Dude, what is in this line’s water bottles?
The top line of Ehlers, Scheifele, and Wheeler quickly added to the scoreline a minute later, profiting off of another 2-on-1 counter. LA quickly responded with a Martin Frk wraparound in the beginning of the third period, but Ehlers was having none of it and made it 4-2 before long. The Kings, though, never seem to fully go away. Brown scored a beauty of a deflection late in the game, getting the Kings in striking distance. Laine and Wheeler iced it, handing the Jets a comfortable 6-3 lead. Aside from some of the weird goals conceded, I was pretty happy with this effort.
This third line shreds more than an ‘80s hair metal band.
I don’t think I need to say much more, but seriously. The line of Harkins, Roslovic, and Appleton is absolutely torching opponents. They have a relentless forecheck, skilled passing, elusive positioning, and pesky offensive instincts. It’s nice to have a scoring third line to back up the top-6 again.
A few Jets are looking more productive in their changed roles.
Roslovic is looking good. It seems like Appleton and Harkins are much better complements to his game than his previous linemates. The change in fortune couldn’t have come at a better time either. Wheeler is also looking better alongside Scheifele. So long as the top-line avoids any extended defensive zone sequences, the Jets should be fine.
Dylan DeMelo is on the way.
You by now know of DeMelo’s acquisition. Dylan should go a long way to helping Winnipeg’s defense look a bit more competent. Poolman is overwhelmed on the first pairing, and Morrissey needs a bit more support. DeMelo isn’t exactly a 1/2D, but he’ll be better than almost any other option. For the price of a third round pick, with the potential for a contract extension, the Jets did extremely well.