Give the Winnipeg Jets credit. Despite the difficulties this season has posed – specifically with defense – they’re hanging in there. It’s not impossible that the team will find themselves in the postseason. It will be difficult; however, the team is winning.
It might seem as if a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators is a given; however, the Senators – although they’re losing games – are playing opponents tough. And, a win is a win is a win.
In this post, I want to keep Jets fans up-to-date on what’s happening within the organization.
Item One: Mark Scheifele Scores a Hat Trick
Mark Scheifele had a strong offensive night against the Senators. His evening included four points – a hat trick and an assist. He scored all of his goals on the power play. He also assisted on Nikolaj Ehlers’ goal. Scheifele is on a hot streak, with six points in his last two games. On the season, he’s now scored 26 goals and 39 assists on the season.
Item Two: Laurent Brossoit Shines in Rare Start
Laurent Brossoit played a steady game in what for him is an irregular start. Brossoit stopped 29 of 30 shots in the 5-1 win over the Senators on Thursday. It was his first win since Dec. 12. Because Connor Hellebuyck is playing so well, Brossoit will probably see little game action during the rest of the regular season.
Brossoit’s last start was also against the Senators on February 8. During that game, he also stopped 25 of 27 shots. It seems as if head coach Paul Maurice will start his backup goalie only when it seems assured that there is a win coming. When you’re fighting hard for a playoff spot, it’s difficult not to lean on your starter.
Item Three: Neal Pionk Continues to Have a Breakout Season
Neal Pionk scored two assists in the victory over Ottawa. He’s having what for him is a breakout season. His assists came on goals from Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor. The 24-year-old Poink now has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his last seven games.
Poink has been truly a find for the Jets. He was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota Duluth. It’s his third NHL season and his first with the Jets. He came along just when he was needed and has scored 41 points in 62 games. Given the team’s difficulty on defense, Point has truly been value-added.
Item Four: Patrik Laine Has a Multi-Point Contest
Patrik Laine had a two-point game against the Senators when he registered two assists. It was his second two-point games in a row, and he’s scored seven goals and five assists in 10 games during the month of February. He’s coming close to his third 60-point total in his first four NHL seasons.
Item Five: Nikolaj Ehlers Gets Second Goal in as Many Games
Nikolaj Ehlers scored a goal in the team’s 5-1 win when he poked in a rebound in period number two to give the Jets a 4-1 lead. It was his second straight game where he scored a goal. He now has hit the scoresheet in nine of his last 11 games and during that time has scored four goals and seven assists. On the season, he’s totaled 22 goals and 49 points in 62 games.
Item Six: Kyle Connor Scores Goal #30
It’s surprising to me that Kyle Connor’s name keeps coming up in trade talks. He’s one of the bright young stars on this Jets’ team. Against the Senators, he hit the 30-goal mark for the third consecutive season, which are his first three seasons in the NHL. If he can collect three more points in 2019-20, he’ll beat his career-high of 66 points that he scored in 2018-19.
Item Seven: Connor Hellebuyck Will Get the Task of Playing Against the Philadelphia Flyers
Not surprisingly, Connor Hellebuyck has drawn the job of starting on the road during Saturday’s afternoon game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Hellebuyck’s been strong lately in net and has won consecutive games against the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. During that time, his goals-against average has been 2.50 with a save percentage of .925.
Hellebuyck will be after his 27th victory this season. It could be a tough test against a Flyers team that has 20-5-4 home record and that’s firmly placed in the middle of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
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