Game two against the Minnesota Wild had a little bit of everything. There were a few big hits, the first actual fight, and some prettier goals than game one. This game was definitely a better showcase for the Winnipeg Jets as they come away with a convincing 4-1 win to pull ahead 2 games to 0 in the first round series.
Thumbs up to Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets goaltender only allowed one goal throughout the night. This was a fairly easy game for Hellebuyck as the Jets did a great job clearing rebounds, especially on the power play. There have been no post-season jitters from a netminder who has never been to the Stanley Cup playoffs before. Sometimes games can be tough when out-shooting an opponent but not out-scoring them because one bounce can change the game. Hellebuyck never allowed that bounce to find the back of the net.
Thumbs down to the defensive play. While the Jets only allowed 17 shots on goal, they gave up the middle of the ice far too often. On the other hand, the Jets had many chances on Dubnyk from the middle of the slot. The Wild need to clean up the middle of the ice if they have any hope in this series.
Thumbs up to depth. This was mentioned during the TUTD segment last game. With Perreault being a game time decision, Roslovic was ready to go. Roslovic played really well in his first career playoff game. He had some great work along the boards to get the puck back to Myers to set up the first goal. He also had a great steal at the Minnesota blue line to create the 3rd goal by Andrew Copp. Roslovic finished the game with 10:24 TOI, 2 assists, 4 SOG, and a plus 2. This was a great showing from Roslovic in his first game.
Thumbs down to dumb penalties. Myers penalty for roughing was totally unnecessary. Myers had two minors in the first half of the game that could have really changed the outcome. When a team is being outplayed and outshot like the Wild were, one power play goal can really change the course of a game. Luckily the penalty kill was up to the task, and only allowed a goal after the game was out of reach.
Thumbs up to trade deadline acquisitions. In the first period when both teams were being cautious and not giving much space, Joe Morrow was one of the best players. He had a few shots on goal, as well as a couple nice pinches to keep the puck in the Wild’s end. Paul Stastny also played well and ended up with the game winner with a nice box out in front of the net. Stastny put Eriksson Ek on his back and slammed home the centering pass from Byfuglien to allow the fans at Bell MTS Place a collective sigh of relief.
Thumbs up and down to Tyler Myers. The thumbs up is given for the nice move at the blueline which led to the opening goal. Thumbs down to Myers for his defensive play. He is not known as a defensive player, and he struggled in his own end during game 2. There were a couple of bad turnovers while trying to exit the defensive end, and a few bad passes that entirely missed a wide open teammate. If Myers can stay in the offensive zone, it will definitely be to the Jets advantage.
Thumbs up to Patrik Laine. The Finnish sensation now has 2 goals in 2 games to start his young playoff career. Laine was dangerous all night and is starting to look calmer with the puck on his stick.
Thumbs down to Tanev for getting absolutely demolished against Winnik at the end of the game. I don’t think that the Tanev/Winnik shenanigans should be called a fight. Tanev threw one or two punches before being on the receiving end of nearly 6 or 7 hits in a row. A fight implies both players are actively hitting, in this case, Winnik clearly got the best of Tanev.
Thumbs up to Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien is a huge man and can hit anybody on the ice with extreme force. This was shown again in game two by destroying Koivu along the boards. Oddly enough, Byfuglien’s biggest hits in game 1 and 2 were both on the powerplay while the Jets were in their own end.
Lastly, thumbs up to the entire Jets team. After being labelled a Stanley Cup contender, the Jets have taken care of business during their first two home games. Neither game was without flaws, but they came away with the first two playoff wins in franchise history. This momentum will hopefully carry over to game 3 as the Jets visit the Wild on Sunday. The physical and figurative whiteout is descending on Minneapolis on the weekend, as they are calling for almost 15 inches of snow. Surely this will benefit the Jets as they have been great thus far during whiteout conditions.