When the Winnipeg Jets met the Vancouver Canucks on January 14, their home record for their last six games had been 0-5-1. However, the Jets also had won nine games in a row over the Canucks. It was a situation where something had to give. That something was the Canucks and the Jets scored a 4-0 shutout to halt Vancouver’s two-game winning streak. Winnipeg has now won 13 of their last 14 against the Canucks.
In this post, I want to help Jets’ fans stay up-to-date with what’s going on within the organization.
Item One: Connor Hellebuyck Has a Strong Night in Goal
It would be somehow wrong in reviewing the victory over the Canucks without first talking about Connor Hellebuyck’s magnificent game. The Canucks were all over the ice, having most of the play; still, Hellebuyck made stop after stop holding his team in the game. In total, he had 41 saves as he threw a shutout at the Canucks.
It was Hellebuyck’s second great game in a row. Although he lost the previous game against the Nashville Predators, it wasn’t because he was playing poorly. In fact, he stopped all but one of the 32 shots he saw. Unfortunately, he lost his 17th game of the season. He simply didn’t have any offensive support from his teammates.
Hellebuyck stopped 31 shots at even-strength and another 10 shots when the Canucks were on the power play. Adding up both those games, Hellebuyck stopped 72 of 73 shots (.986 save percentage) in his last two starts. He now takes this hot streak into a tough game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hellebuyck’s record now stands at 21-13-4 for the season with a goals-against-average at 2.57 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
Item Two: Kyle Connor Leads the Jets Offense
If Hellebuyck was the stopper for the Jets, then Kyle Connor was the offensive star. He scored two goals in the 4-0 win over the Canucks. Connor had both the game’s first goal and the game’s last goal – one scored in the first few minutes of the game and one scored in the last few minutes of the game. He now leads the Jets with 24 goals this season and is scoring at a point-a-game pace with 47 points in 47 games.
The 23-year-old Jets forward is the model of consistency, and since November he hasn’t gone two games in a row without at least a point. He’s looking for a 40-goal season and could end up scoring more points than games played. Last season, Connor’s best, he had 34 goals and 32 assists for 66 points in 82 games. He seems certain to break that scoring mark this season.
Item Three: Patrik Laine Sets Up Connor Twice
I suppose without Patrick Laine, Kyle Connor might not have scored because Laine set up both of Connor’s goals. Laine has just one goal in his 10 games since the Christmas break, but he’s still scoring. The 21-year-old Laine has 15 goals, 28 assists, and 43 points in his 45 games this season. He’ll soon pass the 50 points he scored during the entire season last year.
Item Four: Adam Lowry Ends His Pointless Streak
In the 4-0 win over the Canucks, Adam Lowry scored an assist that ended an eight-game pointless steak. However, he still hasn’t scored a goal since December 10 – and that’s 16 games.
Item Five: Sami Niku Scores His First Point of the Season
The 23-year-old Finish defenseman Sami Niku has been up and down from the Jet’s AHL affiliate the Manitoba Moose. He scored his first point of the season against the Canucks. Although he’s played in only five games, he’s recently been playing over 15 minutes per game. Because other Jets defensemen Tucker Poolman, Carl Dahlstrom, and Dmitry Kulikov are injured or ailing, it seems as if Niku will continue to get bigger minutes than he’s used to.
Item Six: Blake Wheeler Scores on His Only Shot of the Game
Blake Wheeler scored a power-play goal. Interestingly, it was on his only shot on goal in the game. It was Wheeler’s 15th goal of the season and he has 41 points in 47 games in 2019-20.
Item Seven: Jack Roslovic Scores His First Goal in a Month
Jack Roslovic’s first goal since December 17th gave the Jets a 2-0 lead late in the first period. It was his eighth goal of the season, but it was also his first point since he had three assists on New Year’s Eve.
What’s Next for the Winnipeg Jets?
The Jets have a few days off now until they play the Lightning at home on Friday. Then they go on a three-game road trip. The Lightning are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games and have moved into second in the Atlantic Division. They’re tough, and Hellebuyck needs a solid game if the Jets are to win.
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