Warning: this recap is written in a different format mainly because the game ended late and the author went to bed right after.
You know those games that you have low expectations for and get pleasantly surprised? That was this game. The Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks could have been a slog to watch as a fan. The Jets could have done a bunch of Jets things to frustrate a fan. However, when the most annoying part of a game is the broadcast, you are watching a pretty good game especially one that is part of a string of late games the Jets have this week which will subsequently be over before Spring Break.
Blake Wheeler scored a goal at even strength and he sold Thatcher Demko on the pass so well I was embarrassed for Demko as he bit so hard that Wheeler scored on a weak shot. Excellent move from the veteran forward though. After that goal, not a lot happened offensively for a whole 30 minutes. Both teams traded chances, but it was a lot of normal back and forth fare without any real stand out. The biggest news was the Canucks hit a couple of posts.
Now this would normally be the space where I would talk about the Jets inability to close out opponents. There would be a long comment about how they only play two periods, but this game was different. This game they played all three periods and were rewarded with three third period goals included two from Andrew Copp. Paul Stastny scored the third goal of the period, capping off a game that saw him tie his dad for games played in the NHL.
This was one of the Jets better games of the season. They played the whole game which often feels like a bonus based on their entire season, they were rewarded for their hard work, and no defenceman made you want to pull your hair out. And Connor Hellebuyck got a shut out that didn’t feel like a big deal. He had a couple great saves which were also really timely, but for the most part it felt like a “ho-hum” night for him which is what you want. It is great if your goalie can win you games, but ideally they only do that for you once or twice a season. It feels like Hellebuyck is constantly bailing the Jets out. A game like this where he comes up with a couple key saves is a really good look all around.
If the Jets can play like this more often and if they start rotating in some of their more skilled defencemen, maybe there is something there. Maybe there is something that can make them more of a legitimate threat outside of the North Division. Do note that we know they can not only play with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but absolutely beat them in a series so that is no longer a concern. On y va.