The Winnipeg Jets are making quite a few new believers amongst the fanbase. Every game the Jets win seems to add a fresh group of converts to the Bones Brigade. I’m still not sure the Jets are quite the juggernaut their record suggests, but they’re well on their way to becoming a special team. A 5-0 rout of the Colorado Avalanche, in which the Jets matched the Avs quite evenly, is sure to make even the most embittered fans crack a smile. This was a statement victory, and one meant to put the rest of the NHL on notice; the Winnipeg Jets are back.
Winnipeg kicked things off with a fast-paced start, trading counters and scoring chances with the Avs routinely. Colorado pressured and harassed Winnipeg’s puck-carriers, forcing turnovers and pinning the Jets deep. Winnipeg held strong and let Hellebuyck handle anything that was too dicey for the Jets skaters to deal with. Helly, in return, snuffed out every single chance the Avs threw his way. Winnipeg opened the scoring first, opting to acquire the mythical Power Play Goal. We all know the 5v4 special teams have been lackluster, but Blake Wheeler evidently didn’t get the memo. He corralled a pass at the faceoff circle and let loose a venomous wrister. Georgiev could only watch helplessly as the net behind him fluttered.
The Avs, for their part, continued to push the pace. Their speed and skill kept Winnipeg on edge for much of the game, and the Jets were fortunate not to concede a few goals off of some poor defensive reads. Where Winnipeg held the edge was in the clinical nature of its counters. Every rush opportunity for the Jets pushed Colorado’s defensive structure to the limit. The Avs couldn’t contain the trio of Perfetti-Scheifele-Wheeler, and conceded an absolutely beautiful goal courtesy of Wheeler, his second of the game. Morrissey also continued his march towards Norris consideration and obliterated a puck to add yet another Jets goal. Just like that, Winnipeg was up 3-0 heading into the final 20 minutes.
The last period saw the Jets continuing to make good on their counters, with Scheifele notching his own goal, and Wheeler completing his hat-trick. The top line was absolutely feasting the whole evening, and Wheeler’s 3-goal outing felt like a well-earned reward for the unit. Perfetti is a burgeoning superstar, and if you weren’t ready to buy his jersey yet, I hope you are now. He’s proving to be one of Winnipeg’s brightest catalysts, and his future shines brilliantly. Maybe, just maybe, this Jets team is on the path towards greatness...
- That top line, man...Scheifele and Perfetti are dynamite together. I think you could put a cardboard cutout next to those 2 and the cutout would still notch a hatful of points. Wheeler’s given a lot to this Jets team over the years. Now, he can kick back and be the beneficiary of some ridiculously sexy passes.
- The Jets are proving to be a legitimate contender. They’ve still got some big holes to fill, but the team is making do even without one of their best skaters. You’ve got to hand it to this team; they refuse to back down.
- Winnipeg’s rush counters weren’t all that effective last year, but the counters and passing plays we saw against Colorado were gorgeous. If the Jets are going to have issues scoring, they can do a lot to compensate with these well-orchestrated odd-man situations.
- Bones is proving to be an influential hire. I know his candidacy was a bit puzzling, but I’m glad the Jets opted to go with him. He’s done a world of good for this team.
- Lost in the goalscoring frenzy was Hellebuyck pitching a 40-save shutout. This dude simply isn’t human, and I hope Winnipeg extends him for the rest of his career.