I don’t know about you, but I was getting tired of watching the Winnipeg Jets lose. It’s not fun, and the vibes around the team felt pretty terrible. All of the cool anecdotes one can glean from watching Cole Perfetti do his thing ring a touch hollow when the rest of the team is getting pumped every night. On the heels of a 6-game losing streak, the Jets had a visit to St. Louis with a battered and bruised roster. The Jets are currently missing Morrissey, DeMelo, Stanley, and Beaulieu on the backend. Only 2 of those guys are significant losses, but the absence of the rest meant the Jets turned to some young rookies to fill the void. Lo and behold, Winnipeg’s more youthful, mobile backend helped the Jets turn in a pretty fine performance against the Blues. Here are some takeaways from a quality road effort.
- The Blues are a tough customer, especially on their own turf. The Jets walked in and utterly muted St. Louis for significant stretches of the game, making the Blues offense look as ineffective as Winnipeg’s past few seasons of efforts.
- Winnipeg’s defense had a shakier start with all of the new pairings, but seriously found a rhythm as the game wore on. Heinola, Chisholm, and Kovacevic all played a role in cleanly exiting with control while hassling Blues puckcarriers. That ability to skate with possession and pass is all too absent with Winnipeg’s usual blueline.
- The line of Connor-Dubois-Perfetti continues to obliterate opponents. Every offensive zone shift it has looks like dynamite. The combo of skill, speed, and strength gives the Jets a trio you can throw into nearly an situation. This line has duly repaid with an abundance of scoring opportunities and some fine goals. The line with Scheifele, on the other hand...sheesh. Mark had one of his worst games of the season, constantly turning over the puck and looking like a hot mess.
- Eric Comrie hadn’t played in nearly 2 months, but looked more than capable in his first action of 2022. He had some periods where the Blues weren’t getting much on net, but the Blues hounded him in the final 20 minutes. Comrie stood tall and made a number of great saves, including some tough deflections off of friendly bodies. I’m puzzled as to why he doesn’t start more frequently because he’s been pretty competent so far!
- Winnipeg badly needed this win, and the fanbase probably did too. I know we’re all cool with “Team Tank”, but a brief respite from the misery of poor hockey won’t upset the journey.
- That second period was one of those most defensively dominant performances Winnipeg has put in this year. I think the Blues recorded something along the lines of 2 shots on goal. That’s pretty crazy, especially with the youthful backend.
- This performance has hopefully shown the Jets front office what the value of puck-moving D means for the future of this team. Heinola had his best game of the season and Chisholm continues to show flashes of greatness. Kovacevic kept things nice and clean for the most part in his shifts, and we know Samberg can be a quality 2-way presence when healthy. This blueline will need to change over the next few years and some of these guys will likely be a part of the next great Winnipeg core.