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Photo Credit: © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: A Scoring Outburst Pushes Jets to Victory

The Winnipeg Jets won a pivotal game five and now have the opportunity to finish off the Nashville Predators at home on Monday night. In a series that has been defined by momentum and outbursts, game five was no different.

After Nashville had all the momentum in the first period, it was Winnipeg who went on a run in the second. The Jets scored four goals in under ten minutes during the second frame and it sucked all the life out of Bridgestone Arena. The Jets went into the third up by two goals and added to their lead early on with a gorgeous goal by Mark Scheifele that was setup by Kyle Connor. The Jets closed out the game with great defensive play and got solid goaltending by Hellebuyck as they didn’t allow any more goals for the rest of the game. Here are the thumbs up and thumbs down for game five.

 

First Period

Thumbs up to Matthieu Perreault. It was great to see Perreault back in the lineup after getting injured in the first playoff game against the Minnesota Wild. While he was possibly ready to come back last game, Maurice chose to let him rest another two days. Perreault got back into the action right away and made a few good plays in the neutral zone. He hasn’t appeared to have lost any speed in the last couple weeks and will definitely help the depth of the team. Perreault also added a goal in the third period to help put the game away. This was a great first game back after an extended absence for Matthieu Perreault.

 

Thumbs down to the top six. The top players for the Winnipeg Jets have suddenly gone silent after playing so well in the beginning of these playoffs. The top line continually got hemmed in their own end during the first period and could barely get the puck up the ice to get a line change. The second line didn’t fare much better as they also found it difficult to get any offense at all. The top six thrives off the rush because of their speed, but the neutral zone trap for Nashville thwarted all attempts in the first period.

 

Second Period

Thumbs up to the scoring outburst. After a hard fought period where neither team could find the back of the net, the floodgates opened in the second period. Between both teams there were six goals scored in just over ten minutes. Specifically for the Jets, there were four goals scored in just under ten minutes. The most important part of the goals were they players who scored them. Patrik Laine was involved on the first goal as it banked off Stastny and into the open net. Later on Kyle Connor scored his first career playoff goal. Not done there, Connor added a second goal later in the period. After not scoring for the first nine games of his playoff career, Connor is finding the back of the net at the perfect time.

 

Thumbs down to Patrik Laine. Although Laine looked sharp during the period by nabbing an assist on the first goal he was at fault for the late Nashville goal on the penalty kill. The ice surface in Nashville hasn’t been the best so Laine should have known the puck would be bouncing. Byfuglien was also behind the net on the play so there was no safety who could sweep in and take the puck away if Laine missed it. Lastly, Laine did not get his body in front of the puck or try to use his skate to deflect it away. Instead Laine entirely missed the puck and sent the Predators down the ice on a 2 on 1 where they scored to bring them within two goals. It was a huge momentum shift that got the crowd on their feet after the Jets played a great period.

 

Third Period

Thumbs up to putting the game away. No lead is safe when these two teams play each other. The games are high scoring and the momentum swings so quickly that leads can evaporate in the blink of an eye. A huge thumbs up to the Jets for scoring two quick goals in the third and taking away any chance of a comeback.

 

Lastly, one more thumbs up because the Jets won. Thumbs up to Kyle Connor. There were plenty of Jets that played well during game five, but the best player on the ice was Connor. He scored two goals in the second period to propel the Jets to a two goal lead heading into the third. He wasn’t done there as he had an absolutely gorgeous assist on Scheifele’s goal to put the game out of reach. This was Connor’s best game of the playoffs and a huge confidence boost heading into the series clinching game.