Connor Hellebuyck truly is a gift from above. The greatest netminder to ever wear a Jets uniform has put on a multitude of dazzling displays over his increasingly storied career. Monday evening’s outing against the New York Rangers will surely reign near the top of the pile of stellar performances. With the Winnipeg Jets skaters completely outmatched and outplayed for 60 straight minutes, the task fell to Hellebuyck to give his team a fighting chance. The future Hall of Famer promptly dropped a 50-save masterclass, conceding only 1 goal the entire night. Absolute legend.
From the puck drop, you could see the Jets were about to have a Really Bad Time. The Rangers swarmed Winnipeg immediately, forcing turnovers and creating threatening looks all across Winnipeg’s slot. Hellebuyck was forced to dial in quickly, playing another consecutive evening of hockey after a painful loss to the Devils less than 24 hours earlier. Helly stood tall, though, and handled the pressure calmly. Despite being outchanced and outworked for the entire period, Winnipeg managed to squeeze out a duo of goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele. Maybe the confidence of the best goalie in the league fueled Winnipeg’s goalscorers to give their man the lead.
The second period looked like a carbon copy of the first; the Rangers dominated, and Winnipeg still scored anyways. The Jets had to survive power plays and even-strength onslaughts before Kyle Connor scored Winnipeg’s third goal of the game. Once again, it came against the run of play. At this rate, not one person cared so long as the Jets could keep the scoreline in favor to Winnipeg. Trocheck gave the Jets a scare with New York’s lone goal, but Helly masterfully shut down the rest of the Rangers shooters.
The final period of action felt like the moment where the Jets might finally collapse. Gassed and overextended, Winnipeg was desperately holding on to the lead. Hockey can be beautifully silly, though, as Scheifele scored his second of the game on a backhand. The goal, like every Jets goal prior, came against the run of play. If you’re going to get dominated, at least be clinical on the few chances you do get! Helly closed the rest of the game out in style, putting on his best game of the season.
- Connor Hellebuyck is friggin’ ridiculous. Chevy had better back the Brinks truck up for his extension.
- The Jets got obliterated in almost every category. This felt like the Jets of the last few seasons, praying Helly holds while they score some random goals on counters.
- Perfetti is out for the next several games with an undisclosed injury. It couldn’t come at a worse time as the Jets attempt to evaluate their trade deadline needs.
- Timo Meier...please?
- The Jets should probably refrain from benching Samberg. He’s been consistently strong for the team, and Stanley doesn’t handle speedy opponents particularly well.