Playing 1,000 NHL games truly is a feat worth celebrating, and Sam Gagner got the best celebratory gift of all with a Winnipeg Jets win over the Vancouver Canucks. Despite an uninspiring first period and 0 even-strength goals-for, the Jets smacked Vancouver around to the tune of 4-2. A Scheifele hat-trick on special teams and the token empty netter capped off a much-needed night of victories. A late Josh Morrissey injury very nearly spoiled the evening, but it sounds like he’ll be good to go this weekend. Bullet dodged!
For all of the positive vibes this recap has given off thus far, you’ll be surprised to know the Jets opened the game with dead legs. Winnipeg looked like it had just gotten off the team charter, and Vancouver forced turnover after turnover just minutes into the game. One of the turnovers, courtesy of a terrible pass from Samberg, resulted in a goal for Kuzmenko. On the one hand, the goal against really sucks. On the other hand, Kuzmenko is one of my Jets trade targets so...welcome to Winnipeg?
After an atrocious opening 20 minutes, the Jets suddenly remembered they were playing the Canucks. Winnipeg went full-court press for the second period and hammered Vancouver. Colin Delia was the only thing keeping the Canucks from conceding a boatload of goals, but it still wasn’t enough to prevent a Scheifele power play marker and a Dubois penalty shot goal. To make matters worse, Scheifele made it 3-1 right before the end of the middle frame. It was a seeing-eye power play goal that shattered Vancouver’s hopes of recovery.
The final period of action generally saw Winnipeg stifling the Canucks offense. Vancouver struggled to generate anything off of the power play, looking much like a team that’s sitting near the bottom of the Pacific. Conor Garland did manage to notch a greasy goal off of a bad board bounce, but there wasn’t much Hellebuyck could do about that. It’d be the last goal Vancouver would earn for the evening, and Scheifele later completed his hat-trick to seal the deal. This was a must-win game, and Winnipeg got the job done. Bring on the Oilers!
- Congrats Sam, you’ve earned it. Sticking around for a millennium of NHL games is impressive no matter the calibre of career. Here’s to many more games!
- Ville Heinola had his best game as a Jet, hands down. His defensive reads, offensive activations, and zone-to-zone puck transition were superb. Heinola did have some relatively sheltered minutes, but was allowed to fly more freely in the third period once Morrissey left the game.
- Pionk, love...what is to be done with you?
- The Jets probably won’t love the lack of 5v5 scoring, but you take what you can get during an injury crisis. As long as the Jets come away with points, that’s the first priority right now.
- That Miller interaction with Delia at the end of the game sure was...something. Winnipeg could do with some of the Canucks skaters, including Kuzmenko and Horvat. Boeser looks pretty decent too, though his contract scares me. At this point, anyone Winnipeg acquires will probably view it as a rescue.