Starting the season with their first four games on the road, the Winnipeg Jets rose to the occasion winning three of the four. The Jets looked to continue their early success with the next six games back home at the friendly confines of the MTS Centre. With higher expectations, the Jets started off on the right foot at home and treated their fan base with a triumphant home opener.
The Jets home opener was a thrilling one taking on the young and exciting Calgary Flames. Flames forward Mikael Backlund opened the scoring in the first period to give his team a 1-0 lead. After a quiet opening period, the Jets top line started to click. Bryan Little redirected a pass from Blake Wheeler to tie the game 1-1. The game seemed to be headed to overtime but Dustin Byfuglien gave the fans something to cheer about. With 1:28 left in the game, Byfuglien managed to stay onside and make a move around Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman and threw the puck on net beating Karri Ramo. Blake Wheeler would add an empty netter to give the Jets a 3-1 victory. After the game, Little talked about the dynamics Byfuglien brings each night.
“He’s so strong on the puck, and he has a nice pair of hands with a great shot, too.” Little said. “When he wants to take the puck to the net, there aren’t many guys in the league that can stop him.”
The St. Louis Blues came to town to reignite their rivalry with the Jets. After both teams exchanged a pair of goals in the second period, Vladimir Tarasenko scored his second of the game midway through the third period to give the Blues the lead. The Blues would add an empty netter for a 4-2 win. Mathieu Perreault and Drew Stafford found the scoresheet for the Jets.
It was an Ondrej that was the overtime hero but this time it wasn’t Pavelec. Lightning forward Ondrej Palat scored the winner in overtime to give Tampa a 4-3 victory over the Jets. Cedric Paquette powered the Bolts with a goal and an assist. Blake Wheeler scored shorthanded to force the game to overtime after a Ben Bishop miscue behind the net. Nikolaj Ehlers and Drew Stafford also tallied in a losing effort.
It was pretty fitting that in a wild game, the Minnesota Wild would be part of it. Just 10 seconds in, Jason Zucker put the Wild up 1-0 but it was all Winnipeg after that. The Jets scored the next five goals and held off a late Minnesota rally to win 5-4. Drew Stafford scored twice in the second period and Michael Hutchinson stopped 26 shots.
The Los Angeles Kings paid a royal visit to Winnipeg and extended their winning streak to five games at the expense of the Jets. Milan Lucic broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period and the Kings scored two empty net goals for a 4-1 win. Ehlers scored the lone Jets goal.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks closed up the six game homestand for Winnipeg. Hutchinson was spectacular in net for Winnipeg stopping 45 shots downing the Hawks 3-1. Andre Ladd scored his third of the year that proved to be the game winner.
The Jets travelled to Columbus to suit up against the Blue Jackets. In a tightly played contest, Winnipeg escaped with a 3-2 victory. Blake Wheeler added a goal and an assist and Andrew Copp scored his first career NHL goal.
One night later, the Jets found themselves against the best team in the NHL. Starting their backup goalie Mike Condon, the Canadiens dominated a flat Jets squad 5-1. Tomas Fleischmann led the charge for the Habs with two goals and an assist with Condon stopping 18 shots. Chris Thorburn scored late in the third period for Winnipeg.
The Jets (7-4-1) will close off their road trip with a pair of games in Ontario taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs followed by the Ottawa Senators.
Photos by Star Roxas | Filipino Journal