After a disappointing loss to the Edmonton Oilers over the weekend, the Winnipeg Jets needed a bounceback win. A Tuesday night rematch presented the perfect opportunity to strike back at the lads in orange and blue. Still without the services of Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Jets needed to show the North why Winnipeg may have the most dangerous attack in Canada. Could the Jets put on a show, or would they be doomed to repeat their failures?
The First Period
Things didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. The Jets, who did look pretty lively, ended up conceding early on the power play. Leon Draisaitl went coast to coast and snuck a shot through Connor Hellebuyck’s pads. Winnipeg answered just a short while later on its own power play, with Andrew Copp punching home a rebound to tie the game. Maybe the Jets could get some momentum going!
Unfortunately, Hellebuyck had a bit of a stinker of a period and conceded 2 more sloppy goals to put the Oilers up 3-1. Hilariously, Edmonton didn’t really do much to deserve the lead. They were outchanced and outshot, yet managed to capitalize on some sloppy goaltending to nab the lead. I’m not going to dump on the guy who carried this team to a post-season berth last year, but it wouldn’t be bad for him to rebound soon.
The Second Period
Winnipeg was definitely looking for a higher-event evening and came out of the locker-room ready to dance with the Oilers blueline. The Copp-Stastny-Ehlers line, which had been flying in the first 20 minutes, continued to create a number of great rushes in the middle frame. Despite Winnipeg diving for the low slot area on numerous occasions, the Jets didn’t register many shots on goal. Edmonton’s defense sold out on every shift and sprawled out to continually clog up passing/shooting lanes.
After a quality middle period, neither team ended up converting on their scoring chances and the score remained 3-2. I could sense the Jets starting to dial up the heat, though. Even though the shot clock started to look a bit more favorable for Edmonton, I just felt like the second line would explode.
The Third Period
The second line didn’t just explode; it obliterated the hockey team formerly known as the Oilers. This ridiculously dynamite combo of forechecking, skill, and low-slot chaos combined for several goals to give the Jets a 6-4 win. The first line was absent tonight, so the middle-6 stepping up earned Winnipeg a big 2 points. Andrew Copp bagged himself a 4-point night and seemed to be everywhere on the ice. What a guy.
The first line is tragically terrible, and I don’t know why Maurice continues to trot it out every game. I know Scheifele and Wheeler run the room, but enough is enough. These guys just can’t handle the amount of minutes and responsibilities they’re asking for. The team is suffering for it, and the Jets can’t afford to drop many points this year. Figure it out, Winnipeg.
The Copp-Stastny-Ehlers connection makes me feel things.
We all knew Ehlers was amazing. The chemistry he’s found with Copp and Stastny, though, has been fantastic. Copp was someone I always felt would be an ideal netfront clean-up guy with skilled linemates. Andrew’s persistence and forechecking ability is a perfect marriage to the distributors on his line. This is Winnipeg’s top line, and Maurice needs to feed it.
The top line...yeah.
It’s broken. It’s been broken. It’s going to continue to be broken. The Jets need much more from their top line players and they continue to get even less. I don’t know what it’ll take to get Scheifele and Wheeler to buy into revised roles, but it’s killing the team as-is.
Heinola needs to start. Now.
If the Jets are willing to sit a defender, it needs to be Nathan Beaulieu. He’s been the worst blueliner this season, and I’m not sure it’s close. For as much as Logan Stanley has been maligned, he’s handled his duties well enough. Stanley needs a partner who won’t expose his lack of speed, and Beaulieu just ain’t it. Get Heinola in here now.