Watching this year’s edition of the Vancouver Canucks stirs familiar memories. Those of us who haven’t voluntarily wiped our memories of the recent Maurice Winnipeg Jets escapades know the body language of defeatism all too way. It hangs above a team like a thunderous cloud, threatening to rain on all the unfortunate victims below. The Canucks looked like a defeated team Saturday night, absent-mindedly going through the motions of yet another loss. Winnipeg had no mercy, shredding Vancouver to the tune of 5-1. It was a thorough demolition amongst a growing pile for the Jets.
Winnipeg wasted no time getting things started, swarming Vancouver and skating circles around the opposition. Spencer Martin faced a number of challenging shots early, but couldn’t stop a lethal Kyle Connor power play release from besting him. It would be one goal of many on a miserable night for the Canucks keeper. The Jets continued to apply pressure for much of the first period, stifling Vancouver’s offensive zone possessions and utterly shutting the door on scoring opportunities.
Things did not get better for Vancouver in the second period. The Jets rifled 2 point shots through Martin, courtesy of Pionk and Capobianco. The Canucks were barely creating much of anything off the rush as it was, and the pair of conceded goals appeared to suck the remaining life out of the team. The Jets, for their part, were content to slow things down and let off the gas. Hellebuyck calmly dealt with the few chances Vancouver did create, silencing the Rogers Centre crowd.
The Canucks did manage to pot a single goal thanks to a Horvat deflection, but it wasn’t before Gagner and Jonsson-Fjallby added their own markers. The Jets thoroughly dismantled Vancouver, and the Canucks looked like a bunch of skating ghosts for much of the evening. I suspect it won’t be long before Bruce Boudreau gets the door. Vancouver needs some sort of change, and the Jets might just herald the beginning of it. Winnipeg is now a ridiculous 20-9-1 on the season. The best part is that it’s not all because of Hellebuyck. The Jets are winning more sustainably!
- Karson Kuhlman made his Jets debut and looked serviceable alongside Scheifele and Perfetti. He didn’t set the world ablaze, but it was a calm and confident performance. Guys like Kuhlman will have to step up as the injuries continue to mount.
- Pionk and Dillon are struggling to manage the puck. It’s especially noticeable any time either defender tries to make a pass. Both are fortunate the Canucks were tonight’s opponent, because higher-quality opposition might have capitalized on the turnovers.
- The bottom-6 annihilated Vancouver’s offensive production, completely dominating zone possession and blocking every single shot attempt possible. It was a stifling performance.
- Hellebuyck very nearly had the shutout. Curse all who jinxed it!
- Winnipeg has a short flight to Seattle, setting the stage for a big clash with a pesky Kraken squad.