Leading the Way

Leading the Way

Battling the injury bug early in the season can be a tough challenge for any team to overcome. With Bryan Little, Joel Armia, and Mathieu Perreault spending time recovering from injuries, the Winnipeg Jets young stars stepped up offensively in a big way. In the month of November, Mark Scheifele has elevated himself to the top of the league’s scoring and Patrik Laine continued to find the back of the net leading the NHL in goals. If that wasn’t enough, the Jets got some reinforcements signing defenseman Jacob Trouba to a two year deal worth $6 Million to help Winnipeg climb to second in the division.

The Jets kicked off November with a home-and-home series against the Washington Capitals. Playing host to the Caps, the Jets found themselves down 2-0 going into the third period but Winnipeg rallied with goals from Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry. The rally came to a heartbreaking end when Caps Jay Beagle scored with 30 seconds left in regulation to help the Washington edge Winnipeg 3-2. Two nights later, the Jets orchestrated another third period comeback, this time, in Washington. Trailing by three goals, the Jets responded with three of their own to force overtime. Winnipeg once again had their comeback end this time at the hands of Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin’s goal at 3:21 of overtime lifted the Caps to a 4-3 win.

Mark Scheifele helped the Jets soar past the Red Wings the following night. Scheifele recorded a goal and two assists and Brandon Tanev sparked the comeback in Motown scoring twice in the third period helping the Jets win 5-2. Patrik Laine added a goal and an assist.

Despite Scheifele and Laine scoring in the Big Apple, the New York Rangers extended their winning streak to five games with a 5-2 win over Winnipeg. Henrik Lundqvist steered away 19 of 21 Jets shots.

The Jets returned home after three games on the road and went on a scoring rampage against the Dallas Stars. Laine had a hat trick halfway through the game and Scheifele contributed two goals and two assists in an 8-2 drubbing of Dallas.

Two games, back-to-back, on the road is a tough task for any team. Winnipeg took on the Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche on their mini road trip and could be pretty satisfied with the results. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 23 of 25 shots and Nikolaj Ehlers third period goal proved to be the game winner as the Jets beat the Coyotes. One night later, the Avalanche took a two goal lead in the second period but goals from Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele evened the game up. The game needed overtime and the Avalanche needed a bit of luck to win 3-2. In his own corner, Ehlers played the puck and shot it on his own net that got past Michael Hutchinson giving Colorado the win.

The MTS Centre was treated to an exciting Sunday afternoon matinee against the Los Angeles Kings. Adam Lowry and Marko Dano scored in the first period giving the Jets a 2-1 lead. Kings Tom Gilbert scored the equalizer in the third period sending the game to overtime. After five minutes of free hockey, a shootout would be needed and Scheifele scored the clincher for a 3-2 Jets win.

In a battle between the top two teams of the Central Division, it was the Jets that dominated. Winnipeg frustrated the Blackhawks all night as Hellebuyck stopped all 27 shots and Laine scored his league-leading 12th goal of the year in a 4-0 shutout. Josh Morrissey scored his first career NHL goal and Chris Thorburn and Nic Petan registered their first goals of the 2016-2017 campaign.

The Winnipeg Jets (9-7-2) continue their grueling month of November with their next five games on the road starting in Philadelphia. Winnipeg sits in second in the Central Division while Mark Scheifele leads the league in scoring with 21 points and Patrik Laine sits atop the goal scoring race with 12.

Photos by Star Roxas and Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal