Is 2017 our year? Well, it’s way too early to say that but the Winnipeg Jets kicked off the changing of the calendar on the right note as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4 in a wild game at Amalie Arena. The win snapped the Jets two-game losing streak and extended their road winning streak to 3. The Jets on a winning streak on the road? Now that’s shocking!
- The best player on the ice tonight was Nikolaj Ehlers. The Dashing Dane scored twice, had an assist and skated circles around the Lightning defence all night. His first goal came on a penalty shot that turned the game into the Jets favour as it sparked a three goal outburst in the second period. Patrik Laine gets most of the headlines (and deservedly so) but Ehlers should get more love from the media and fans. Such exceptional skill.
- Speaking of Laine, he scored his 20th of the season into an empty net to seal the deal. That goal earned the Finnish rookie sensation a bonus worth over $200,000. In NHL terms that’s pocket change. For me, I’d take that money and party like it’s 1999. (Yes, a Prince reference. RIP) For an 18-year-old with a bright future and limitless potential, it’s only the beginning.
- Time for a man crush update. Joel Armia remains a beautiful human being. Yes, I realize he didn’t register a point. Yes, I know he took a silly penalty in the third period which led to a Tampa power play goal. But Armia was excellent tonight in creating scoring chances, stripping the puck away from the Lightning and being a force at both ends of the ice. The man crush remains alive and well.
- Connor Hellebuyck was good tonight but he did have shaky moments. Tampa’s first goal, the first in the NHL for Matthew Peca was a shot that Hellebuyck should have stopped. Prior to that, Hellebuyck was brilliant in the first period making 17 saves and looking like an impenetrable wall. He looked out of position on Tampa’s second goal and was starting to wear down in the third. But he did make enough timely saves to preserve the victory for the Jets. Overall, 32 saves out of 36 shots for an .889 save percentage. Not great, but good enough for tonight.
- WWE superstar, Winnipeg native and Westwood Collegiate alum Chris Jericho attended tonight’s proceedings. Despite living in Tampa now, Y2J was sporting a Jets jersey and cheering for his old hometown team. Have to admit it was cool to see.
— g lo (@Glom0707) January 4, 2017
— Duncan (@Simple_L0gic_) January 4, 2017
Joel Armia is like good at hockey or whatever. #NHLJets
— Harrison Lee (@HLLivingLoco) January 4, 2017
— Christine Hoenisch (@Grubsweatcheers) January 4, 2017
I can’t decide if I love Ehlers, Armia, or Scheifs more so it looks like I’m just going to have to love them all equally. #NHLJets
— Kristen Suderman (@KLSuderhand) January 4, 2017
Charts And Stuff:
All charts courtesy hockeystats.ca
GIF Of The Night:
Of course Y2J has to be the GIF. He was at the game after all.