The Winnipeg Jets continue to soar above expectations. I’m not sure any sane, rational person would have picked Winnipeg to be in first in the West just 44 games into the season. The Jets still lean a bit too heavily on Hellebuyck, but the rest of the squad has started to step up significantly. Recently, we’ve been blessed to witness the offensive prowess of Connor-Dubois-Ehlers. This line is absolute dynamite, and has been good enough to paper over some struggles around the rest of the line-up. One would hope a softer match-up against the Arizona Coyotes would lead to some fireworks. Winnipeg, instead, found itself chugging through a low-scoring affair while doing enough to earn the victory.
The Jets looked sharp offensively, testing Vejmelka with a number of early scoring opportunities. We’ve all been traumatized by Vejmelka’s ability to shapeshift into Hasek against Winnipeg, and he was in fine form once again. It took just a little more than a period to finally break through, with the Jets connecting on a great Dubois power play deflection. Dubois continues to pulverize his way to massive point totals this season, and I refuse to think about what Winnipeg would have to do to replace him.
Life seemed to be going pretty smoothly, with Winnipeg outcreating the Yotes by a healthy margin. The Jets then decided to make life interesting again, allowing Keller to walk down the slot off of a defensive breakdown. Keller punished Winnipeg’s mistake, but I’d wager most of us weren’t too concerned. Come hell or high water, the Jets would probably score again.
Just a few minutes later, that faith was repaid with a great Wheeler tap-in. Blake could only laugh at the tic-tac-toe passing from Scheifele and Perfetti to set up his game-winning marker. Wheeler probably won’t score many easier goals this season, and the vision from his linemates is truly spectacular. Aside from those 3 goals in the second period, the rest of the game devolved into a bit of a goalie deadlock. Hellebuyck and Vejmelka refused to blink, leaving the Jets the victors. Arizona did generate a few too many dangerous low-slot opportunities for my liking, but Hellebuyck shut them down. Winning sure feels nice!
- The third and fourth lines weren’t exactly feasting in this one. Both units got caught on bad reads, failed zone exits, and generally mediocre play. I’m not sure I like the decision to bench Gagner for Maenalanen, but it is what it is.
- Winnipeg won’t love some of the defensive miscues and free looks given to Arizona. The Yotes may be bad, but their power play certainly isn’t.
- The 81-80-27 line is just too dang good, man.
- Samberg and Schmidt continue to be pretty good together. If only Pionk was able to follow suit...
- I still can’t believe this team is first in the West. Give Bones the Adams now!