by Ryan Reyes
First Half February Funk
The first half of February has been one filled with adversity for Winnipeg’s beloved NHL franchise. To start the month off they won against division rivals Dallas Stars 4-3 but proceeded to drop the next four games against the Avalanche, Wild, Blackhawks and Lightning. Heading into February a contingent of fans believed the Jets had a chance of making the playoffs. That chance whether it be significant or small was at least just that. A chance. After their lackluster defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 11th reality set in. Making the playoffs would take a miracle. Being 8 points out of the last playoff spot is just too steep of a mountain to climb with 24 games left and with every team having games at hand.
Dallas Stars @ Winnipeg Jets – Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
Enter the Dallas Stars on Valentine’s Day. Both teams were tied at 54 points a piece and desperately fighting for their playoff lives.
Initially things weren’t too lively for the Jets as their first shot on goal came at 13:23 of the first period. But soon after rookie sensation Patrik Laine opened the scoring with a tap-in goal from a beautiful pass by Andrew Copp who waited patiently to avoid a sprawling Stars defender. The MTS Centre was alive.
In the second period, Armia extended the Jets lead after capitalizing on a one-timer. The Stars’ Jamie Benn scored at 8:43 of the second period to make it 2-1 then Tyler Seguin fired a wrister past a well-screened Hellebuyck to tie the game up at 2-2.
With 5:07 left in the game Laine scored an absolute beauty of a goal off a Mark Scheifele face-off win. Arguably one of his best goals of the season. Patrik utilized his outstanding quick-release and zipped it past Niemi to put the Jets up 3-2.
Blake Wheeler scored on a long distance empty-netter and Laine did his best impression to complete his third hat trick of the season.
Can this uplifting win be considered a glimmer of hope for the Jets’ playoff chances? According to www.sportsclubstats.com the Winnipeg Jets playoff chances have now “improved” to 4%… It would take an impressive run of 15-5-3 to secure 89 points. I feel it’s highly unlikely that we’ll reach the playoffs but let’s hope it’s a competitive and exciting run that will aid in the development of our young guns and set a positive tone for the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club this coming off-season. Let us know your thoughts by tweeting at @FJHockeyCorner @FJRyanReyes @FJAllanMadriaga.
? The Jets snapped a 15 game streak where they surrendered 3 or more goals
? Patrik Laine is the first rookie to record 3 hat tricks in a season since 1992 when Teemu Selanne had 5 and Eric Lindros had 3
? Connor Hellebuyck stopped 34 out of 36 shots for an impressive .944 save %
“That release is extraordinary. He gets the puck on and off his stick so fast that you can’t find it.” – Paul Maurice commenting on Patrik Laine’s second goal.
Photos by Star Roxas | Filipino Journal