As an opposing fan I would never bank on things going well when playing in Nashville, yet this Winnipeg Jets team has had its fair share of success in Tennessee.
Last night was easily the most complete and impressive effort the Winnipeg Jets have had this season and it was extremely encouraging to see. With key players missing across the board in Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Chariot, Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg’s depth pieces really shined on this night.
Brendan Lemieux had two 4th line grinder style goals, while Joe Morrow and Mason Appleton had very good games respectively which included a nice back-door one-timer to make the score 2-0 in the Second Period.
The Jets defense was impressive all night thanks in part to very stable games from Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrissey, Dmitri Kulikov, Tyler Myers, Joe Morrow and Sami Niku. Morrow and Niku added 2 assists a piece and old Joe looked great jumping up in the offensive zone when there were opportunities to do so. I’m very confident in these 6 defenders if and when more injuries happen this season.
Connor made some key stops on odd-man rushes and made a couple big saves to allow the Jets to extend their lead.
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I also loved Connor’s response this week when asked about his play, “I’m not going to question the coach. He makes the calls and I’m going to be prepared when my name is called.” He added that he expects to keep on winning, “I have a lot of wins and we’re in first place, right?” he said. “That’s correct? Just making sure. So, I like a lot of things (my game).” A savage but correct response.
Patrik Laine had a strong game. He didn’t score a goal but one of his shots in the slot resulted in a rebound goal from Bryan Little, who also continued his strong play of late. Laine had some great chances in front and rang one off the post in the third.
I also liked how the Jets top power-play unit was moving guys around as Laine was dipping into Mark Scheifele‘s spot in the middle while Scheifele switched over to the one-timer slot. Continuing to score power-play goals in different ways will allow them to settle in with Blake Wheeler on the lower-right side as we’ve been accustomed to seeing.
At times earlier in the season the Power-Play looked one-dimensional with the same set-up, not anymore.
Last night I watched the Predators stream of the game and came away very impressed with their knowledge and professionalism. No excuses were made by anyone, they just gave full marks to the Jets.
The Predators also had a mid-game vote asking if the Winnipeg Jets were the Predators biggest rival. 66% responded ‘Yes’. You can’t argue that it’s fun to watch these two evenly matched teams play in barns that both go nuts for their respective teams.
The Predators are no joke and there’s a very good chance these two teams meet again in a few months time. Until the playoffs though we still get to settle for 2 regular season matches in Winnipeg and I’m sure a lot of fans have these dates marked on their calendars.