After posting a 4-9-1 record in the month of November, the Winnipeg Jets will try and find a way to get back on track despite an injury to their number one goaltender and recurring trade talks. Ondrej Pavelec will be out until the new year due to a knee sprain giving way to Michael Hutchinson and rookie Connor Hellebuyck. With their recent struggles, trade rumours have been rampant as New York Islanders defenseman and St. Malo native, Travis Hamonic, stated he would like to be traded to a short list of teams that included the Jets. Dustin Byfuglien’s name has been brought up along with Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers in exchange for Hamonic. If Winnipeg continues to veer off course, some changes may be in store in the near future.
After snapping a six game losing streak against the Vancouver Canucks, the Jets followed up with another victory against the Arizona Coyotes at home. Down 2-1 in the second period, Dustin Byfuglien scored on a give-and-go with Andrew Copp to tie the game up. At the start of the third period, Michael Hutchinson relieved Ondrej Pavelec after Pavelec suffered a knee strain. With the game tied, Chris Thorburn became the unlikely hero scoring shorthanded. Thorburn capitalized on a loose puck and beat Coyotes Anders Lindback to give the home team a 3-2 win. After the game, Thorburn shifted the spotlight onto his team’s performance.
“I’m just proud of our team, the way we battled,” Thorburn told NHL.com. “There were times where things weren’t pretty, but we stayed with it and came up with two points.”
After scoring the opening goal at home against the Avalanche, the Jets couldn’t solve Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov. Colorado answered the Jets first period goal with four straight. Blake Comeau had a goal and an assist in the Avs 4-1 win and Varlamov stopped 20 of 21 shots.
The Jets flew to Washington D.C. for a date with Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to kick off a three game road trip. In a back and forth affair, the Capitals simply had too much firepower for the Jets to handle. After exchanging a pair of goals in the opening frame, Nicklas Backstrom gave Washington a 3-2 lead. Ex-Capital Mathieu Perreault responded for the Jets just 3:50 later. Dmitry Orlov gave Washington the lead for good finding the back of the net with a slap shot on a screened Hutchinson. Washington added a goal in the third to cap off a 5-3 win.
The Jets flew to Minnesota to take on the Wild and it was Winnipeg getting the best bang for their “Buyck” in the Black Friday matinee. Connor Hellebuyck stopped just 14 shots in his NHL debut and Perreault, Byfuglien, and Ehlers scored in a 3-1 victory. The win snapped a six game losing slide on the road for the Jets.
Colorado seems to have the Jets’ number. After giving up the first three goals, the Jets faced an uphill battle against the Avalanche in Denver. Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler scored five minutes apart to cut the Avs lead 3-2 to close off the second period. Chris Wagner put the game out of reach scoring early for Colorado in the third period proving to be the game winner. Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists and Hutchinson recorded 20 saves in the 5-3 defeat.
The Jets (11-12-2) start off December with two games at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Capitals. Winnipeg plays 7 of 12 games at home in the month of December.
Photos by Mike Macaraeg and Star Roxas | Filipino Journal