The Winnipeg Jets are slowly putting the pieces together after a slow start to their season. After a forgettable road trip to kick off the campaign, the Jets went on a five game home stand. It didn’t come together right away, but the Jets are slowly finding their identity with some of their leaders guiding the way.
Winnipeg welcomed Central Division rivals, Nashville Predators for the first home game of the season. The Jets hoping to get a boost from their fans came out flat and were blanked by Pekka Rinne and the Preds 2-0. Mike Ribeiro and the James Neal scored for Nashville and Rinne stopped 31 shots in the victory.
It didn’t fair much better when the Jets took on the Calgary Flames. Winnipeg got off to a great start with Mark Scheifele displaying his accuracy beating Jonas Hiller in the first period. However, Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau scored in the second period to put his squad up 2-1. Gaudreau also added an assist giving Calgary a 4-1 win.
The Carolina Hurricanes rolled into town seeking their first win of the season while the Jets were looking to end a four game losing streak. Captain Andrew Ladd got his team to a great start scoring 1:57 into the game. Rookie Adam Lowry scored 40 seconds later which proved to be the game-winner to give the Jets a 3-1 win.
The Jets were introduced to rookie Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning in an unpleasant way. Drouin playing alongside Steve Stamkos scored his first goal of his career and added an assist to double up on Winnipeg 4-2. Toby Enstrom had a pair of assists for the Jets in a losing cause.
Two of the Jets leaders stepped up in a big way to help the Jets get back in the win column. Dustin Byfuglien provided the physical play and Ladd had a goal and assisted on Bryan Little’s winner with 25 seconds left in overtime to edge the Colorado Avalanche 2-1.
Coach Paul Maurice was really impressed with the overall play of his team against the Avs.
“Our energy was good, our bench was good,” Maurice said. “Our battle was really good and our physicality was really good.”
Andrew Ladd continued to lead by example as the Jets flew out East for a four game road trip. Ladd scored twice to lift the Jets to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders.
The New Jersey Devils squeaked out a shootout win against Winnipeg 2-1 getting a late goal in the third period from Michael Ryder. Despite the loss, Ondrej Pavelec was exceptional stopping 27 of 28 shots.
Pavelec carried his strong play against the New York Rangers. Despite getting no goals in regulation, Pavelec shut down the Eastern Conference champions turning away 38 shots. Evander Kane was the shootout hero beating Henrik Lundqvist in the fourth round to fly past the Rangers 1-0.
Winnipeg received some extra help in the form of backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson. The Jets didn’t have much time to relish in their win in the Big Apple taking on the Chicago Blackhawks the following day. Hutchinson, in relief, backstopped the Jets to another 1-0 win stopping 33 shots in the process. Michael Frolik scored on the opening shift to win the tight affair.
With the leaders setting the pace and the goaltending playing brilliantly as of late, Winnipeg will look to continue their new found success playing their next two contests at home followed by a five game road trip.
Photos by Mike Macaraeg and Star Roxas | Filipino Journal