This Winnipeg Jets season has seen its fair share of highs and lows. The early quarter was filled with highs while this back stretch has shown us the doldrums. I like Rick Bowness on the whole, but some of his idiosyncrasies and blindspots have been flaring up over the last few weeks. All of these issues nearly derailed Winnipeg’s final game before the All-Star break, a softer match-up against the St. Louis Blues. Bones made some late adjustments and reworked the lines to be what we’d normally expect after 2 periods of awful play, but my warning flags haven’t gone away yet.
The game didn’t exactly start off with the best omens. The Jets rolled out one wild looking line-up, with Ehlers and Dubois in the bottom-6. I get trying to send a message to Dubois, but Ehlers? That one doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Either way, the new lines didn’t exactly look up to snuff against a mediocre Blues squad. St. Louis was defensively porous and gave the Jets a number of looks, but the helter-skelter Jets lines couldn’t find space behind Binnington. It was an exceedingly mediocre opening 20 minutes, and one I’d like to quickly forget.
The second period didn’t do much to restore Winnipeg’s fan faith, with the Blues striking first on a power play breakaway. The Jets made a poor line-change and were punished immediately, with Jake Neighbours walking in alone to make it 1-0. It was an especially annoying goal to concede after Winnipeg had generally dominated the shot clock. All of that counts for naught if you ain’t scoring. Bones still wasn’t budging a ton on the line combos yet, so all we could hope for was a third period reset.
The final frame of action didn’t get off to the best of starts. Nikita Alexandrov scored a second Blues goal, and it briefly felt like the Jets might be well and truly cooked. Josh Morrissey decided enough was enough, and sped off on a 2-on-1 the other way. Morrissey opted to do it himself, and obliterated Binnington with a top-shelf blister. Winnipeg’s top-6, newly arranged to the typical starting line-ups, finally buzzed with enthusiasm.
The Jets pressure finally started to pay off. Scheifele tied the game with a beautiful tic-tac-goal sequence involving Connor and Ehlers. Suddenly, the dam seemed to burst and Morrissey added his second goal of the game right after, giving Winnipeg its first lead of the night. A Scheifele empty-netter capped off a chaotic, frantic, and dramatic comeback third period. What a bizarre, but massive win.
- If I ever see Ehlers on the fourth line again, I am personally sending a sternly-worded note to Winnipeg.
- Barron continues to be a really nice middl-6 addition to the Jets. He’s always in dangerous scoring areas and seems to be good at facilitating offense. If he finally starts finishing chances, he’ll be a monster.
- Morrissey is such a stud. His performance turned the game on its head. Just hand him the Norris already.
- I like Bones, but I’d prefer if he stopped experimenting with the line-ups in strange ways. Not every message needs to kneecap the team’s offense into oblivion.
- Horvat is gone, so now is a perfect time to bring TIMO MEIER TIME to Winnipeg.