The Winnipeg Jets are quite the experience. You never know what you’re going to get with them, which makes a lot of these games fairly intriguing. Will you see a power play goal? How about even-strength scoring? Maybe a Gus Bus assist? About the only thing that’s been constant this season is Connor Hellebuyck. The veteran netminder has been an anchor in net, bailing the Jets out despite the makeshift line-ups in front of him. Every point matters, though, especially when the Jets get chances to win against weaker opponents. Winnipeg welcomed the scrappy Chicago Blackhawks in for an afternoon game, and just like the match-up against the Habs, the Jets took care of business.
For the opening 10 minutes of the game, Winnipeg looked like it might run away with the outing. The Jets swarmed Chicago, peppering Arvid Söderblom with numerous chances. The Swedish rookie held firm, though, and gave the Hawks time to find their skating legs. It wasn’t long before it began to look like the Jets were on the backfoot instead. Thankfully, Hellebuyck was still in Vezina-contender mode and kept Chicago from finding the back of the net.
It took until the midway point for one of the teams to open the scoring. Winnipeg’s much-maligned power play finally hit paydirt, with Josh Morrissey ripping a point shot through Söderblom to make it 1-0. The Hawks were none too pleased, and continued to pressure Winnipeg in the defensive zone. Amidst the chaos, the Jets ended up taking a penalty and fans clenched up, anticipating the game-tying goal. Instead, Lowry took advantage of a bobbled handle at the blueline and scored short-handed. 2-0 Jets in a flash.
Winnipeg decided special teams scoring is really fun, and Pierre-Luc Dubois added another power play goal to pad the lead at 3-0. The 3-goal second period seemed to break the spirits of Chicago, and the Hawks spent the rest of the game getting smacked around. Nate Schmidt rattled a fourth goal in, yet another power play marker, to make it 4-0. It was a scoreline that would hold for the remainder of the afternoon. Hilariously, Winnipeg won without scoring a single even-strength marker. The Jets thoroughly throttled the Blackhawks, reminding them of their place in the Central. You just love to see it.
- Promote. The. Gus. Line. Seriously, these dudes are an unholy menace. Let them play even more minutes!
- The Connor-Scheifele-Appleton experiment is getting to be CSW levels of annoying. The CSA line isn’t quite as bad as that old standby trio, but Appleton just can’t keep up at the level of his linemates.
- Connor Hellebuyck is on-track to get some serious Vezina nods at the end of the season. I hope he adds a second trophy to his cabinet. He deserves it.
- Kyle Capobianco made his season debut and had an effective outing alongside DeMelo. It seems like everyone does well alongside Dylan DadMelo. Might be time to move DeMelo back to the first pairing with Morrissey; Pionk is struggling mightily.
- It’s nice to see Winnipeg take care of business, even against lesser teams. The Jets need to squeeze all the standings points out that they can, especially with Ehlers sidelined. A 7-3-1 record thus far is pretty golden. It hasn’t been pretty, to put it lightly, but you take it.