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Game Recap: Is Win-nipeg....Back?

The Jets played a really solid game against a tough, cagey Blues squad.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed watching the Jets, but lo and behold, they’ve given us two solid games of competitive, watchable hockey. After a tough loss against the Bruins last night where special teams victimized Winnipeg’s scoring, the Jets came out against St. Louis with a point to prove. Initially, though, you’d be forgiven for wondering if Winnipeg was feeling last night’s game a bit. The Jets were a bit chaotic and sluggish out of the gates, rising to the challenge as the first period wore on.

Despite the Blues putting a lot of early shots on goal, Jack Roslovic was the first to open the scoring, courtesy of a clean pass from Sami Niku. Sami has a lot of work to do on his defensive game, but you have to admit his vision and skating are both top-notch. This kid can do things half the defenders on Winnipeg’s blueline simply cannot. The Jets finished out the first with some really solid play, and it was good to see the Jets attacking the slot and trying to create havoc in front of Binnington.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets kept up their quality outing in the second frame, adding another Roslovic goal and a nifty Andrew Copp wrister that blew through Binnington. I really liked Copp’s performance tonight, and he really needs to be given more second-line centre time. He’s outspoken and backs his words up on the ice. I hope he anchors that top-6 behind Scheifele because the kid has serious hands and a dangerous forecheck. I was also very pleased with Roslovic, a guy I’ve been wanting more from. He found himself in good scoring positions and neatly capitalized, which he’s struggled to do at times.

The third period was somewhat messy, with the Jets sitting back and letting the Blues chase the lead. It got a bit hairy, with the Jets surrendering two in the last few minutes of the game. Laine and Wheeler capped the evening off with a few empty-net goals to quell the St. Louis comeback, and all ended well for the Jets. Winning may not get us the kinds of true improvements we need behind the bench, but the team needed this and so did the fans.

Three Takeaways

The Jets have been a competent team in their last few games.

While Winnipeg is not exactly playoff-competitive, they’ve looked more like an NHL squad as of late. They still shouldn’t be buyers, but I do hope they keep giving us fun games. I can live with losing so long as the Jets make it a wild ride down. The boring trap-games they’ve played in the first half were killing my enthusiasm to watch the team.

Dustin Byfuglien is likely done for the year.

Friedmann reported that Dustin isn’t likely to return anytime soon. This shouldn’t be too surprising. I figure most of us probably didn’t expect to see him donning Jets navy in the future. What this means for Byfuglien’s remaining tenure in the NHL is hard to say, but he may hang the skates up if things don’t pan out. I’m gonna miss this guy a lot.

Connor Hellebuyck looked very sharp.

If anyone desperately needed the All-Star Break, it was Hellebuyck. The Jets netminder has been the busiest goalie in the league, and the fatigue looked like it was starting to show right before the break. If Hellebuyck is back to a more dominant form, the Jets might have enough to make some noise in the postseason. It’s too early to say much and just getting to the playoffs will be a slog, but it’s nice to see Helly back in-form.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports