The Winnipeg Jets are doing that thing again where they make me Believe. I slightly hate it, because I know it will probably end in disappointment one day, but I can’t stop believin’. You have to be in the same boat after having seen what the Jets did to Dallas on Filipino Heritage Night. The Jets, in short, obliterated the Stars. This was one of the most complete forms of domination Winnipeg has displayed against top competition in ages. The Stars have played like juggernauts thus far, but were made to look like an AHL team against the Bowness-led Jets. Revenge after a painful first meeting sure tastes sweet!
Winnipeg set the tempo early, playing fast and aggressive hockey right off the bat. Both the Stars and Jets were loose with puck control. The Jets had the edge, though, and consistently created dangerous counters from the turnovers. By the end of the first period, the Jets were outshooting Dallas something along the lines of 18-8. It wasn’t a perfect period, but it was impressive nonetheless. The only frustration was that Winnipeg hadn’t managed to light the lamp.
After a scoreless first, the Jets went back to work in the second period, but found a much stiffer resistance from Dallas. The Stars forced more failed zone exits and turnovers. One of those turnovers, courtesy of Neal Pionk, led to a Jason Robertson goal. It’s hard to be mad about a player of Filipino descent scoring on Filipino Heritage Night, but Winnipeg needed to clean its act up. Thankfully, the goal against seemed to piss the Jets off, and they immediately tied it on a beautiful counter from the Scheifele line. Mark has looked reborn this season, and capped a perfect passing sequence with a virtual tap-in. Just a few seconds later, the Jets scored again thanks to a mishandled puck from Scott Wedgewood. Dubois happily accepted the Dallas back-up’s generosity and gave the Jets a lead they would not relinquish.
The second period only got worse for Dallas, with the Jets taking command of the game and tacking on 2 more goals to make it 4-1. Saku Maenalanen even got in on the action, tipping home a Pionk point shot for his first Winnipeg goal! At this point, the Stars just about died out. They looked like their spirits were broken, and the Jets toyed with them for the remainder of the period. For the final 20 minutes of the game, Winnipeg sat back while the Stars meekly attempted the comeback. Instead, Appleton deposited an empty-netter to seal the deal. Just like that, Winnipeg was on top of the world, stealing first place in the division and second overall in the Western Conference. The vibes are good.
- Scheifele continues his renaissance season. Free of Maurice’s tactics, Scheifele is obliterating defenders left and right. This is the best he’s played in ages, and it’s wonderful to see.
- Gustafsson continues to exemplify what all young two-way players should bring to an NHL club. His consistent defensive presence and forechecking ability has menaced opponents every evening. Feed the beast more ice-time!
- Dubois is still killing it, and his goal was well-deserved. I know I’ve sung his praises a lot recently, but it’s still worth acknowledging.
- This was a complete team effort, and everyone had a hand in dominating Dallas. If this is what Bones can squeeze out of this team, just imagine what the Jets will do with Ehlers back in the line-up.
- The Jets don’t play until a set of back-to-backs over the weekend. These schedulemakers are giving me a modicum of grief with the amount of time between games the Jets have, but at least Winnipeg can rest up.