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Game Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens

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The Jets stifle the Habs in a dominant effort.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets are the trolliest team in the NHL. This game absolutely confirms it. Montreal, looking to avenge a loss earlier in the week, got utterly curb-stomped while committing several egregious mistakes. Winnipeg punished every brainfart and controlled most of the game. These are the sorts of efforts the Jets need to showcase consistently.

The First Period

Tonight’s scoreline might have you believing Winnipeg was in firm control, but the first 20 minutes felt quite the opposite. The Habs were the more aggressive team at the puck-drop, hitting the Jets on several rush counters and disrupting Winnipeg’s breakouts. Despite upping the shot count, it didn’t feel as though the Habs were getting a ton of dangerous looks. They had a few moments in the slot where Hellebuyck had to be sharp, but the even-strength play was a bit listless.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The special teams opportunities were where both squads made their best chances to score. Allen and Hellebuyck had to be wise to some quick releases and a few chaotic PK sequences. Montreal’s power play looked to be the better of the 2 early, but neither team broke the scoreless draw. This was an odd first period, where the Habs definitely had the advantage, but not enough to make you sweat.

The Second Period

The Jets began to kick the game into gear post-intermission. Winnipeg’s counters and rushes were a lot more potent, and the Habs had a lot of trouble cleanly exiting their DZ. The pressure eventually paid off when Jeff Petry turned the puck over on a sloppy pass to Paul Stastny. Allen was miles out of his net and let a squeaker roll through him. It wasn’t a pretty finish but we’ll take it!

Winnipeg added insult to injury later in the period, scoring on a power play after killing off a few Montreal PP attempts. This goal came courtesy of Nik Ehlers, who wristed it by a slightly-impeded Allen. Perreault had cut across the front of the net, grazing the glove of Allen before the shot was released. The contact appeared to be outside the crease, but I genuinely couldn’t tell you what rules were interpreted to allow the goals to stand. Interference is always a bit of a toss-up, so cast your goal or no-goal votes below.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets made life even funnier when perennial shot-misser Derek Forbort squeezed a top-shelf snipe through Allen’s glove to make it 3-0. The upped pressure from the Jets seemed to catch the Habs in a scrambly state. Winnipeg capitalized on Montreal’s misfortune to grab a massive lead. Could the team hold it?

The Third Period

I think the Habs might be dead. After a second period in which the Habs rapidly found themselves down 3 goals, the final 20 minutes ended with something of a whimper. Montreal just looked defeated and demoralized. Winnipeg adding a power play goal from Copp and Perreault scoring a beauty off of a Weber turnover further plunged the sinking ship to the deepest depths. Hellebuyck recorded another shutout and added his 20th win of the season. These are things you absolutely love to see.

Three Takeaways

Winnipeg kinda smoked Montreal.

The Jets had a mediocre start, but rectified it from the second period on. Montreal had some decent looks on the power play, but Winnipeg ran the rest of the game. The Habs may be down a few big players, but they still played exceptionally poorly.

The Jets held and maintained a lead!

They’ve not always killed games off, but tonight, there was zero question as to which squad was emerging victorious. These low-pressure situations are great for rolling lines and resting guys for the run.

The trade deadline is upon us....will the Jets make a move?

It seems like Winnipeg is actively shopping, and some of the least-favorable assets are off the board. Most of the TDL guys left are pretty good, so if the Jets want to go shopping, I’m all for it.