Jets Nation Recap: Ladd and Jets rally a comeback only to fall in the skills competition

For a short time it look like the Winnipeg Jets were all in for a full out tank, but all that changed. The troops rallied and a four goal comeback put the Jets ahead by one, only for the Tampa Bay Lightning to rally on their own.

The game was anything but uneventful or boring.

The opening period saw a strong start from the Jets, but it was all chances and no finish. Then it was all Tampa. The Lightning pushed hard through the final five minutes of the period. Victor Hedman opened the scoring after walking in nearly all the way with the Jets wingers caught far too deep. Jonathan Marchesseault followed up nearly two minutes after a play by Ondrej Pavelec where calling him lazy would be too nice. Finally, Steven Stamkos potted his 23rd of the season after both the Jets defenders and netminder lost track of the rebound.

With the Jets deep in the hole, the rough stuff started to come out. Things started to get out of hand, which was only amplified by some questionable calls after both Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little were dumped at the blue line. The Ehlers hit looked fair from my observation, although low, but could have been a knee-on-knee collision. The Little hit, however, seemed to be have him in a vulnerable position while falling and Victor Stralman had the opportunity to control the situation. Blake Wheeler then went after Stralman, each of them earning a roughing penalty, although Wheeler received two.

Paul Maurice became livid from the judgement and earned a bench minor. The second period ended with only one goal coming off the stick of Tyler Myers, shrinking the Jets deficit from three to two.

The third period was about to begin and it seemed like the teams would focus on just playing hockey, but then an odd thing happened. Paul Maurice came out to the Jets bench only to have a staring contest with Francois St. Laurent. It’s unclear who initiated the staring contest, but both were willing combatants. Whether goaded or not, Maurice took the bait and was ejected from the game after repeatedly yelling at St. Laurent.

The Jets then scored four unanswered goals from Mark Scheifele, Andrew Ladd (2), and Matthieu Perreault to take the lead. Alas, the lead was short-lived, only to have Nikita Kucherov beat Pavelec clean only 24 seconds later, with five minutes remaining in the game.

Overtime was extraordinarily eventful and fun, even as far as high-event 3v3 sudden death goes. Ladd had two close opportunities to end it for the Jets and earn his first hattrick as a Jet, but it was not meant to be.

The game went on into the shutout and Stamkos won it for the Lightning, with Pavelec stopping 8/10.

Three Keys:

Paul Maurice goes Patrick Roy: Okay… maybe it was not what caused the Jets to rally. Maybe it was just coincidence. Regardless, it was a major part of the game. The Jets faced adversity and were able to overcome it, even if they weren’t exactly dominating the Lightning in the third.

Special Teams???: What normally is discussed as the Jets weakness came out as a strength. The Jets went completely without a single short handed or power play goal against. In fact, they even scored two on the power play, and one of their own while short handed.

Ladd is back: Ladd has struggled lately. While he hasn’t been even remotely a poor player, he has not been quite the same level as the previous two seasons. Whether it is recovery from the injury he suffered last season, age, or some combination thereof, let’s hope Ladd is back to his quality self… even if it is to up his trade value.

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