The Winnipeg Jets may have not been able to beat the Kings, but they did beat the champs.
The Jets got back to their winning ways tonight, beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 in the last game of their homsestand. They end their six-game homestand with a record of 3-2-1.
The Jets got off to probably the worst possible start they could have had. Tobias Enstrom got called for holding Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews just 18 seconds into the game. On the ensuing power play, Patrick Kane did….stupid Patrick Kane things and put the Blackhawks up 1-0 early.
After that, Hutchinson shut the door and survived an early barrage from the defending champs. About midway through the first period, Bryan Little won an offensive zone draw clean back to Blake Wheeler who let go a quick wrist show that beat Corey Crawford to tie the game at one.
The score stayed that way until Jonathan Toews went off for holding. Jets moved the puck well and got some quality shots on the power play. Matthieau Perreault hit Bryan Little with a cross ice pass for a one-timer, the rebound went right out to Andrew Ladd in the slot and he made no mistake. 2-1 good guys.
Hutch was strong in the first, but he needed to be even stronger in the second. He got peppered with 18 shots in the second period alone, and a few of them being pretty wide-open, point-blank chances. He stopped all 18 and kept his team in the lead going into the third period.
The Blackhawks continued to get some quality chances in the third, but Hutch was just playing out of his mind. With about eight minutes gone in the third, Mark Scheifele seemed to innocently chip the puck out of the Jets zone. The Blackhawks forgot that there’s a guy by the name of Nik Ehlers that can literally jet. Ehlers won the race to the puck and fed the person who started the play, Schiefele, coming in late and sniped one past Crawford to put the Jets up 3-1.
This kid better start getting some more love from the NHL media. Ehlers now has 8 points on the year, brings the same game night in and night out and continues to have outstanding defensive and possession numbers, but seems to be getting no attention for it. I’m sure Ehlers doesn’t really care as long as the team wins and he’s playing well, but it’s something I think should change and now.
Despite an extremely hard push in the end by the Blackhawks, Hutch would still not be denied. The Jets win 3-1, Hutch goes to 4-0 on the season and the Jets leapfrog the Blackhawks in the standings.
Oh it feels good to beat the champs.
The Jets will be in action again Saturday night when they travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. It will be the first game of a four-game Eastern Conference road trip.
Hutch is clutch: What has honestly been such a question mark for this franchise over the years has been there staple this year. As good as Ondrej Pavalec has played so far this year, Michael Hutchinson has been even better. He stopped all but one of the 46 shots he faced tonight and improves to 4-0 on the season with a 1.75 GAA and a .949 save percentage. Those are absolutely ridiculous numbers. Of course, the sample size is small, but Hutch had to be as sharp as humanly possible tonight, stopping several point-blank chances.
Physicality: One area that the Jets dominated tonight was in the physical game. They out-hit the Blackhawks 32-15. Sometimes that can be an indicator simply of who had the puck more, but I don’t think that was the case tonight. The Jets are a physical team and they seemed to go in with the game plan of making sure they played the Blackhawks very hard. The Blackhawks do sometimes struggle with teams that are very physical, and that seemed to be the case tonight and gave the Jets the edge.
Ladd’s Little Wheeler line: The line of Ladd, Little and Wheeler stepped up tonight and produced the first two goals of the game for the Jets. The second of which was on the power play, but still saw Ladd and Little connecting for the goal. Wheeler and Ladd each had goals with Little picking up two assists. (Side note: Ehlers continues to make things happen because HE’S GOOD AT HOCKEY).
YOUR HOT TAKES
— Not A Twit (@GooseTheGander) October 30, 2015
Well said. Big two points. Big win against a division rival and the defending champs. End the homestand on positive not and go into the road trip with a good frame of mind. Very important win.
Ehlers-Scheifle-Perreault do Corsi things well https://t.co/8G4yt8h9wQ
— Marcus Bordage (@M_Bordage) October 30, 2015
— B Smith (@blasmitty) October 30, 2015
Hutch does have the better record and numbers so far, but like I stated earlier it’s still a small sample size. Plus, Pavalec hasn’t exactly played terribly either. The Jets have two very solid goaltenders right now which is a great problem to have. They’ll need both these guys down the road.
CHARTS AND STUFF
Winnipeg Jets individual 5v5 statistics:
Oh, that’s weird….is that rookie Nik Ehlers leading the entire team in corsi?
HE’S GOOD AT THIS HOCKEY THING.
Shot attempt chart for all minutes:
2 points? Division win? Beat the champs?
Oh, and Jim, is Nik Ehlers good at hockey?