**the news site that we use didn’t have any pictures from the Yotes game, so had to use an earlier picture in the article.**
5 straight victories and a day of golfing in the sunshine….things have been going well for the Winnipeg Jets lately. Facing off against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday evening, the squad was hoping to keep the good times rolling. Let’s see if they could finish off the road trip in the Mullett Arena with a 3rd straight victory.
The game opened in typical Winnipeg fashion, with tight defensive play being the hallmark in the first few minutes. Vilardi had a great chance when a point shot rebounded off the boards, but he couldn’t stuff it by the Coyotes’ Vejmelka to give the Jets the lead. The visiting Peggers were playing well defensively, frustrating the Yotes’ skaters attempts at offense, and it led to a couple 1st period powerplays going against the home team. The first PP (too many men) saw Winnipeg send quite a few shots towards the goaltender, with the best looks being a nice deflection by Vilardi and a beautiful fake shot/pass by Schmidt to set up a wide open Perfetti, only for the winger to fan on the 1 timer attempt. The second man-advantage (holding up Vilardi) also saw a couple prime opportunities, including an Iafallo 1 timer from the low slot and a blast from the point by Pionk resulting in a huge rebound that narrowly missed a couple Jets. After failing to capitalize on a couple PP’s, Winnipeg felt it was only fair that they give Arizona their own man-advantage (courtesy of a DeMelo high-stick). The Jets allowed the Coyotes to set up early, but after some perimeter passing, Lowry was able to intercept a pass & clear the zone. A couple more blocks (Lowry/Pionk) later in the penalty kill helped keep the puck away from Hellebuyck and Winnipeg’s captain was almost sprung on a breakaway, but was interfered with by the last defender. The refs didn’t agree with my assessment of the play, so no call was made and it almost bit the Jets’ in the back-side when sophomore Maccelli rang the puck off the post as the PP expired. Winnipeg went back on the attack when the teams returned to even strength and finally solved Vejmelka when a tenacious forecheck by Perfetti forced a bad pass up the middle of the ice. Red-hot Namestnikov was there to intercept the pass, immediately firing a shot from the low slot by the Yotes’ tender (see the bigger dot in bottom face-off circle on the shot chart). The Jets almost added another goal when Scheifele won a battle on the forecheck to set up Vilardi for a chance close to the blue paint.
First Period MoneyPuck Stats: Score: 1 to 0 for the Jets, shots 15 to 4 for the Jets, 72% Deserve To Win for the Jets, Expected Goals – all situations (1.13-0.27 WPG), & 5 on 5 (1.04-0.15 WPG)
A Dillon bodycheck drew some attention from Arizona’s McBain, but it was Lowry who stepped in for a spirited bout with the son of a former Winnipeg Jet (Andrew McBain). The Jets ended up with a powerplay out of the affair, but this man-advantage was their least effective on the night. However, the Peggers were dominating at even strength and it paid off again when the Jets’ top line went on a rush. Vilardi & Scheifele started the rush, but eventually the puck worked its way to Ehlers high in the offensive zone. The Dane tried a cross-ice pass, but a defender was able to get a piece of it and the puck popped into some open space. #27 saw the opportunity and flew to the puck, quickly firing a shot across his body to the far side of the net to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead. Arizona did respond by pinning the Namestnikov line in the defensive end for a long time, eventually drawing a penalty, but a Schmaltz shot deflected off DeMelo’s stick to drastically change direction and fly over Hellebuyck’s shoulder. After a bit more pushback by the Yotes, Winnipeg almost sprung Ehlers on breakawy, forcing the defender to interfere with him. With Bucky on the bench for the extra attack, the Jets cycled the puck before Morrissey sent a high-to-low cross-ice pass to find Perfetti at the back door. Young Cole made a nice move to corral the puck with his stick to get a couple whacks at the puck to restore the 2 goal lead (initially called a Niederreiter goal).
After Two Periods MoneyPuck Stats: Score: 3 to 1 for the Jets, shots 27 to 9 for the Jets, 78.5% Deserve to Win for the Jets, Expected Goals – all situations (2.36-0.90 WPG) & 5 on 5 (1.56-0.79 WPG)
To give Arizona their credit, their players didn’t fold despite Winnipeg’s stingy defense and started to really push for a 2nd goal. The Jets didn’t panic and ended up taking advantage of counter attacks to put the game out of reach permanently. The first was due to a great defensive play by Ehlers that saw him dive to break up a pass, only to scramble to his feet, get control of the puck, spin away from a Coyote forechecker, and send a backhand pass to spring Scheifele on a clear-cut breakaway. The Jet’s top center made a nice backhand-forehand move and tucked the puck by Vejmelka to make it 4-1. Hellebuyck didn’t see a lot of action in the game and it must have made his mind wander, as he horribly plays a dump in to give young Guenther a wrap around goal. But that only resulted in Arizona eventually pulling their goal to try get the 2 goals they needed to tie things up. It back-fired quickly as Vilardi intercepted a pass in the d zone and sent Scheifele up the ice for an empty netter. Winnipeg wasn’t done there, as the Jets’ cycling specialists were back at it again. This time the 3rd line’s cycle saw the puck find Appleton, who quickly dished off to Niederreiter in the corner. The Swiss winger spotted Lowry in prime low slot territory and the duo combined for a 1 timer goal to give Winnipeg a 4 goal lead.
FINAL SCORE: WINNIPEG JETS 6 ARIZONA COYOTES 2
SHOTS: WINNIPEG JETS 36 ARIZONA COYOTES 17
- MoneyPuck Stats: 82% Deserve to Win for the Jets, 4.25 to 1.32 in expected goals (all situations) for the Jets, and 2.42 to 1.04 in expected goals (5 on 5) for the Jets.
- It was another defensive gem by the Winnipeg Jets…shutting the Coyotes down to less than 10 shots in the opening two periods.
- A great game by our speedy Nicolaj Ehlers. 5 shots and a goal/assist.
- Dylan Samberg & Nate Schmidt were plus 4 and 3 respectively on the game, as the Jets’ 3rd pairing continues their trend of limiting goals against them.
- Winnipeg’s much maligned special teams weren’t exactly great versus Arizona, as the PP once again went 0 for 4. The penalty killers did better with no goals against in 2 attempts, but the Jets did create 1.83 expected goals when they were either up a man or down one.
With Winnipeg heading home to start a home stand on a 6 game winning streak and holding onto the #1 spot in the NHL, things are going great for our team. Let’s see if they can keep it up…here’s who they play next.
NEXT GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Winnipeg Jets – Tuesday, January 9th @ 7:00 pm Central
Just thought I would share some pretty impressive stats for the Jets. The first image shows how Winnipeg is getting great scoring depth this season, with 16 of the regular 18 skaters having at least 10 points. The second & third highlight how well the Jets’ goaltenders have played (courtesy of ESPN, TSN, & MoneyPuck).