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Game Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs. Chicago Blackhawks

The bottom-6 led the way in a 7-2 route of Chicago!

Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks are moving in divergent directions. Winnipeg, seemingly on top of the world, continues to climb the standings while still learning how to play the Bones way. Chicago lies at the other end of the spectrum, hoping for a future filled with Bedard. Past Jets teams have struggled against bottom-feeder teams like the Hawks, playing down to the competition in embarrassing fashion. This Jets team, on the other hand, wants to take care of business. Winnipeg did exactly that, obliterating Chicago to the tune of 7 goals. The source of the scoring is where the true story begins...

Winnipeg’s goal production this year has been substandard. Despite competing for the top Central Division seed, the Jets are in the bottom-10 in goals-for league-wide. We all knew finishing would be an issue, but Hellebuyck has done a marvelous job at masking the problem. After an emotional win in Dallas, the Jets needed some new heroes to step up against the Hawks. Winnipeg desperately needs goal support from the bottom-6 while the front office mulls trade options.

Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Jets depth forwards answered the call in a big way, with Harkins, Maenalanen, Lowry, and Barron all figuring into Winnipeg’s high-scoring evening. Harkins and Lowry got the party started early, crashing Chicago’s crease for a greasy lead. I’m not sure what box of Wheaties Jansen found while touring with the Moose, but it’s worked wonders. He looks like a confident, assured scorer, putting himself in great positions to poach goals against softer competition. Lowry’s net-drive continues to yield good results, cashing in another primary assist that was duly earned.

I’ve been thinking about Maenalanen’s future with this Jets line-up, because he hasn’t shown much lately. As if to silence critics, Saku responded with a brace, including a beautiful snipe over Mrazek’s glove. His other goal was the kind you’d want from a depth forechecking presence; a deposited rebound left unattended. Barron had a hand in one of these goals, a welcome sight as he’s been absent post-surgery.

The Jets racked up a 5-2 lead by the second period and looked relatively comfortable with the lead. The only threats from Chicago came on some nasty counters that caught the Jets flatfooted. Hellebuyck was sharp to most opportunities, ensuring we didn’t see a repeat of the Carolina game. Goals from Scheifele, Connor, and Dubois wrapped the evening up nicely, handing the Jets a beefy 7-2 victory.

Five Takeaways

  1. Morrissey continues his torrid scoring pace, adding another 3 primary assists to his haul. Bones has been a godsend for Josh’s offensive skillsets, letting the blueliner do his thing consistently.
  2. The Jets have a date with first place in the Central on Tuesday. A victory over the Avs would be swell, and this Winnipeg team sure feels like it has the swagger (and goaltending) to make it happen.
  3. The power play scored a few times, but it generally looked awful. The puck movement still operates at a glacial pace, and skaters are too hesitant to make quick passes. This special teams group seriously needs an overhaul.
  4. Winnipeg’s bottom-6 smoked Chicago’s AHL-calibre depth. Just about everyone on the third and fourth lines got in on the action, even if they weren’t doing much.
  5. The Jets took care of business against a weak opponent, and that’s exactly what the team has failed to do in the past. Bones might still leave me with some tactical concerns, but the improvement in work ethic is impossible to question.