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Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

I cannot summarize that game because I cannot figure the Winnipeg Jets out. First of all, full marks to them for beating the Tampa Bay Lightning. I don’t know if they played well necessarily, but they also did not seem to play poorly for the whole game. Even when they appeared to be struggling, they had Connor Hellebuyck and they were able to pull it together enough that the win does not seem like a miracle.

The Jets had an uneven start to the game and Hellebuyck made some big saves to keep it close. As the game wore on, the Jets seemed to get stronger which makes sense. Bringing four players back from injury in one game is a gamble, but one they had to take because their offence had taken a beating without a proper top six. The fact the players took some time to warm up into the game, especially Nikolaj Ehlers, makes sense. This should not be an ongoing problem for the Jets.

Ten Thoughts

  1. There was a point in the third period where Ehlers grabbed a loose puck, blew past a defender to create a two on one and while he did not manage to score, he looked back. The Jets have missed Ehlers a lot and having him back is a huge boost to everything.
  2. Hellebuyck has been the best Jets draft pick ever and a saviour to them when they need it. While his game was not flawless, he made more saves and bigger saves than Andrei Vasilevskiy did at the other end. His first period saves on Steven Stamkos alone show this.
  3. Kyle Connor only took one penalty last year. Kyle Connor took two penalties in this game. What is with the Jets new bad boy?
  4. Actually Mark Scheifele seems to want to ALSO be the Jets new bad boy by mixing it up all night before fighting Anthony Cirelli in the third period. Must be something in the water.
  5. I will harp on this until he is back in the lineup: the Jets are a better team with Ville Heinola in the lineup and should sit a veteran to make this happen regularly.
  6. Rick Bowness has coached 2600 NHL games. He’s been a good find for the Jets not because of the playing style, but because he fixed the vibes of the team.
  7. Let’s talk about the vibes of the Jets. Last year the vibes were bad. There seemed to be a power struggle and in fighting. Now the vibes are good. Everyone seems to be feeling it. There have been some changes to the power structure on the ice that have led to helping repair the vibes. Bowness might not be the exes and ohs coach to “fix” the Jets, but he corrected other concerns really well.
  8. Prior to the game there was talk about how good the Lightning were on the power play. Well, the Jets had a perfect penalty kill, but they scored two of their four goals on the power play and another one was an empty net goal on the penalty kill. Good times.
  9. Josh Morrissey remains a revelation and looks like he finally found his form again. Lovely to see.
  10. I cannot emphasize how nice it was to see the Jets play with two top six lines. Just lovely.