In a year filled with inconsistencies for the Winnipeg Jets, forward Mark Scheifele has remained consistently productive. The Jets 2011 first round pick has stepped up his game and now leads the team with 12 goals and has been a catalyst for the Jets by opening the scoring seven times this year. With all the talk about signing Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien to long term deals, Scheifele will become a restricted free agent next year and Jets fans will definitely want number 55 and his scoring prowess locked up long term.
After dropping a game in Denver to the Avalanche, the Jets returned home for a two game home stand. The Toronto Maple Leafs always have a way of igniting the Jets firepower at the MTS Centre. After giving up an early Leaf goal, Drew Stafford scored twice in the first period to give the Jets a 2-1 edge. The score remained the same until the third period where the Jets exploded for four more goals on Leafs Garrett Sparks. Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists in a 6-1 triumph.
In a Saturday afternoon contest, the Jets faced off against their former Southeast division rivals, the Washington Capitals. Andrew Ladd opened the scoring on the powerplay with time ticking down in the first period. Niklas Backstrom tallied for the Caps in the second period and a scoreless third period set up overtime. Scheifele provided the heroics in overtime scoring the winner after a lengthy review. Connor Hellebuyck outdueled one of the best goalies in the NHL, Braden Holtby, making 37 stops. After the game, Ladd talked about the hard fought win.
“We grinded it out until overtime and obviously got a big goal from [Scheifele],” the captain said. “A lot of positives from playing a tight game like that.”
There was hardly any time to celebrate the victory as the following day, the Jets took on the Blackhawks in the Windy City. Marian Hossa scored a goal and an assist and Patrick Kane broke Bobby Hull’s point streak of 21 games to set a new Hawks franchise record. Chris Thorburn scored the lone Jets goal and Michael Hutchinson saved 29 shots in the 3-1 loss.
The Jets found their scoring touch once again at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Winnipeg scored three first period goals to take a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. Scott Hartnell cut the lead to a goal scoring in the second period but Drew Stafford and Mathieu Perreault pulled the Jets in front for good scoring in the third. Blake Wheeler added an empty netter to give the Jets a 6-4 victory.
It was déjà vu for the Jets as they returned to Chicago the next day following a victory. Winnipeg-native Jonathan Toews scored on the powerplay for the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane extended his point streak with a second period goal to shutdown the Jets 2-0. Corey Crawford made 25 saves for the shutout.
In an always entertaining affair, the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets locked horns at the MTS Centre in a Central division showdown. Scheifele opened the scoring once again for his twelfth of the year. After a Blues goal in the second period, Chris Thorburn and Drew Stafford put the Jets up 3-1. The Blues, powered by Alex Steen’s goal and two assists, rallied for three unanswered goals for a 4-3 win. Scheifele had a goal and an assist in the loss.
The Winnipeg Jets (14-15-2) take on the New York Rangers at home before heading for Alberta to take on the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.
Photos by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal