It wasn’t the follow up season that many expected. The Winnipeg Jets will look for answers in the off-season one year removed from a first round appearance in the playoffs. A high draft pick in the summer may help Jets fans cope without postseason hockey and should help the Jets in what may be a rebuilding phase.
Former Jets captain Andrew Ladd returned to the MTS Centre in triumphant fashion. A video tribute was shown of Ladd and he received a standing ovation from the sold out crowd. Ladd capped off the night with a goal in the third period for a 4-0 Chicago Blackhawks win. Scott Darling stopped 28 shots in the shutout.
The Jets dropped their third straight game to the hands of the visiting Anaheim Ducks. Paul Postma opened the scoring for Winnipeg 6:29 into the game for his first of the year. Jamie McGinn tied the game ten minutes later and Ryan Kesler gave Anaheim the lead 20 seconds into the second. Blake Wheeler tied the game six minutes later. After a scoreless third period, Jakob Silfverberg scored the winner in overtime. Silfverberg was robbed by Jets netminder Michael Hutchinson on his first attempt but buried the rebound for a 3-2 Ducks win.
Ondrej Pavelec helped the Jets back into the win column with a 2-0 shutout of the Vancouver Canucks. After two scoreless periods, Adam Lowry scored 2:30 into the third period and Mark Scheifele got the insurance goal. Pavelec made 28 saves in the shutout.
Winnipeg recorded back-to-back wins crowning the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 to conclude their four game home stand. The Kings struck first as Anze Kopitar scored his 25th of the year on the powerplay in the second period. Adam Lowry tied the game before the second period horn sounded. Howver, the third period belonged solely to the Jets. Dustin Byfuglien tallied 15 seconds in for the eventual game winner. Paul Postma and Drew Stafford also scored for Winnipeg.
The Jets got off to a flying start in Buffalo scoring two quick first period goals but the Sabres rallied for a 3-2 win. Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp scored 42 seconds apart in the first period. Hudson Fasching scored his first of the year for Buffalo and Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel scored in the third period to complete the rally.
The Philadelphia Flyers had enough gas in the tank to hold off the Winnipeg Jets in a thrilling 3-2 overtime win. Down two goals in the second period, Mark Scheifele had a goal and an assist to help the Jets get to overtime. Claude Giroux scored his 22nd goal and game winner in overtime off a broken play. Steve Mason turned away 26 of 28 shots for the Flyers.
Dustin Byfuglien welcomed home Ottawa Senators Mark Stone in a big way. Stone, a Winnipeg native, was laid out in the neutral zone by Byfuglien with a monstrous hit. Ottawa got the last laugh leaving the MTS Centre with 2 points in a 2-1 victory. Zack Smith and Alex Chiasson had goals for Ottawa and Mark Scheifele recorded his 26th of the campaign in a losing effort.
Chicago made their return to Winnipeg for the second time in two weeks. In a much closer affair, the Hawks escaped with a 5-4 overtime win. Rookie sensation Artemi Panarin had two goals including the tying goal late in the third period and added an assist on the overtime winner by Brent Seabrook. Blake Wheeler had a goal and three assists and surpassed the 70 point mark for a new career high.
If they can’t make the playoffs, the Jets will do everything to spoil rival Minnesota Wild’s chances of punching their ticket to the postseason. Mark Scheifele scored on the powerplay and Chris Thorburn scored the game winner on a breakaway in a 5-1 Jets win. Andrew Copp scored a beautiful goal splitting the Wild defenseman and Drew Stafford and Blake Wheeler added goals in the Jets last home game of the season.
The Winnipeg Jets will head to California for a three game road trip with games against the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and the Los Angeles Kings. The Jets offseason will be highlighted by the NHL Draft in June and the naming of a new captain. The 2016-2017 season will be showcased by the Heritage Classic at the Investor’s Group Field in October.
Signing off from the Press Box, until next year Jets fans!
Photos by Star Roxas | Filipino Journal