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Game Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens

Winnipeg gets a nice win for the return of Rick Bowness.

Montreal Canadiens v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets continue their campaign to obtain the Purest of Vibes this season. Tactical adjustments and elite line-ups are for chumps. Winnipeg is powered by Good Feelings and some nice goaltending. In between those moments, though, are some stretches of good play from the Jets. One of those stretches came against the Montreal Canadiens, a team that had all the hallmarks of a frustrating Winnipeg loss. The Jets, instead, took care of business and got both points in Bowness’ return to the bench.

Winnipeg has struggled against teams with quick counters, and Montreal is a squad that can play that style well. The Habs play fast and loose hockey, which can leave openings for quality scoring chances. Winnipeg came close to capitalizing on a number of these opportunities, but Samuel Montembeault shut the door in-net. The Jets, for their part, generally kept the Habs off-balance, but still allowed Montreal a few too many dangerous scoring chances. Hellebuyck remained sharp and was only beaten by a great individual effort from Nick Suzuki that caught DeMelo flat-footed.

Montreal Canadiens v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

The offensive struggles looked like they might do Winnipeg in, but Pierre-Luc Dubois decided not scoring is for losers. He ripped one by Montembeault on the power-play, tying it for the Jets and rewarding the hard work of many difficult shifts. At this point, the Jets could have had a few markers off of the efforts of Kyle Connor and the top-6, but Montembeault was too dang good. Connor’s been snakebitten this season, but this game began to make it look like he’d never score again.

Thankfully, KFC came good by the time extra hockey arrived. The Jets had watched victory in regulation get snatched away by Montembeault’s glove several times, and weren’t waiting around for a shootout to earn both points. A beautiful hand-off between Scheifele and Connor saw the Jets rip home the deserved game-winner, sending much of the crowd into rapturous joy. KFC finally got the monkey off of his back and has to feel like a weight’s been lifted off of his shoulders. He only has 2 goals this season, unthinkable for one of the league’s most talented shooters. Maybe this will get him back to potting bags of goals!

Five Takeaways

  1. Winnipeg played a pretty solid 60 minutes. The Habs had some dangerous looks here and there, but the Jets generally controlled the game from start to finish. It took overtime to earn the full standings points, but it was deserved.
  2. The promotion of Gagner to the first line, though short-lived, worked a charm. The trio of Connor-Scheifele-Gagner immediately looked more effective than that grouping with Appleton. The coaching staff really should make the former trio the norm...
  3. Samberg continues to do a solid job alongside DeMelo. Dylan, for his part, appears to have shaken off the early-season rust and has put in a string of solid performances over the last few weeks.
  4. The Jets need to bring Heinola up soon. He’s chafing at the bits for a chance to shine, and Winnipeg could seriously use his skillsets on the power-play. The special teams have been lackluster this season, so it’s not like Ville won’t bring an immediate impact.
  5. Dubois is quietly killing it. The centre is driving play well and gaining chemistry with Wheeler and Perfetti. I wish he’d stick around longer than this season or so, but thems the breaks! Montreal should be ready to pay a hefty price for Dubois’ services.