Hats Off

Hats Off

Fans of the Winnipeg Jets can’t be blamed for being extra festive this holiday season. Their team has been playing excellent hockey to start the month of December as they earned points in eight consecutive games. The Jets continued winning crucial division games against teams chasing them in the standings and have their fans tipping their hats – and sometimes even throwing them onto the ice.

After losing a heartbreaker to the Boston Bruins in overtime, the Jets returned home to play the Edmonton Oilers, losers of 10 consecutive games. The Oilers held on to a 2-1 lead late into the third until Dustin Byfuglien evened the game up and sent the game into overtime. It took only 17 seconds for the Jets to add to the Oilers misery as Mathieu Perreault scored to give the Jets a 3-2 victory. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 22 of 24 shots in the victory.

Winning division games will be a key factor in the Jets chase of the postseason. The Colorado Avalanche came into town looking to gain some ground against their division rivals but found themselves the victim of the first Jets hat trick since moving from Atlanta. Bryan Little scored three goals and sent the fans into a frenzy powering the Jets to a 6-2 rout of the Avs. Little was all smiles after the game.

“Nights like tonight are good for the confidence and for the team,” Little said of his team’s six goal output. “It feels good to score six goals.”

Winnipeg ended their three game homestand against the NHL’s best team, the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim held a 3-2 lead late in the game until Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba joined the rush and buried his own rebound to tie the game forcing overtime. Ducks forward Kyle Pamieri ended the game beating Pavelec on a shot from a bad angle. Winnipeg not only lost the game 4-3 but lost forward Evander Kane for two games for checking from behind on Clayton Stoner.

Winnipeg proved that everything is bigger in Texas – including their play. The Dallas Stars were left seeing stars as the Jets dominated them 5-2. The Jets got two goals from rookie forward Adam Lowry and goalie Michael Hutchinson continued his excellent play turning away 26 of 28 shots in the win.

The Avalanche hosted the Jets seeking revenge for their embarrassing loss in the last meeting. Winnipeg looked like they were on their way to victory leading 3-1 early in the third. Jarome Iginla and Ryan O’Reilly scored to level the game and force overtime. The game was decided in a shootout with the Jets failing to score and the Avs scoring on their first two attempts. Mark Scheifele recorded a goal and two assists in the defeat.

The Jets headed home to take on the Anaheim Ducks for the second time in a week and Bryan Little got the Jets off to a great start. Little scored his team-leading 12th goal on the powerplay but the Ducks stormed back in the second period with three goals. Frederik Andersen stopped 30 shots goals. Frederik Andersen stopped 30 shots backstopping Anaheim to a 4-1 win and seventh in a row. The loss ended the Jets point streak at eight games.

The Jets will close off their four game homestand with three games against Eastern Conference opponents followed by three against Central division foes. Winnipeg welcome the New York Islanders on New Year’s Eve to close out 2014.

Jacob Trouba. Photo by Miguel Moldez.