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Photo Credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G24 Recap: Jets Hang On (barely) For Wild 6-5 Win Over Chicago

The Jets heritage jerseys go back on sale Friday morning, but Thursday night felt like a trip back to 1980’s era hockey as the Jets and Blackhawks scored early and often as both teams not only decided that defense was optional, but outright discouraged in a 6-5 Winnipeg Jets win highlighted by a Nik Ehlers hat trick.

FIRST PERIOD

Three goals within the first four minutes of play is how this game got started as the Jets opened up scoring 1:43 into the game as Patrik Laine picked up his 20th goal of the season and 100th for his career.

The Hawks and Jets traded goals as the fourth line for Winnipeg was victimized on Chicago’s first goal of the game, but the Jets answered back very quickly.

Early on we get a sense of just what kind of game it’s going to be for both teams as the middle of the ice seemed wide open on both sides and both defenses seemed very passive early on. Scoring chances in the first period were actually in favor of the Blackhawks 13-11 with eight of those being considered high danger opposed to the Jets five high danger scoring chances. The Jets were mixing up the pairings of Ben Chiarot and Tyler Myers with recent call-ups Cam Schilling and Sami Niku and it showed as all four had moments of confusion. It was that confusion that led to a third Hawks goal to tie things up before the period end.

Again, the fourth line before tonight had been playing well enough and had people talking that maybe they should get more ice time, but were on the ice for both goals against and both times looked very poor in their backchecking effort.

SECOND PERIOD

Again early in the period the Jets strike quick and often as a little under two minutes into the second Winnipeg gets a two goal lead.

As concerning as the Jets defense has been the last couple of weeks, Chicago’s has been outright brutal.

The Jets were a slight bit better in the second period and didn’t give up anything really dangerous to Chicago after that initial flurry of goals to open the period, but given how the game was going you knew it was only a matter of time before the Hawks came back.

For the second straight game, an ugly goal given up by Connor Hellebuyck rears it’s ugly face as a relatively harmless shot from distance fools Hellebuyck and gives Chicago new life as the Jets close out the second and go into the third with a familiar one goal lead and a sense of dread hanging over them.

THIRD PERIOD

At the very least, the Jets didn’t waste any time in establishing their offense in each period as Patrik Laine’s second goal of the night comes within the first two minutes of the period yet again and restores the Jets two goal lead.

A lot of fans were awed by the nifty steal that Laine pulled off, but a bunch of credit on the play also has to go to Kyle Connor who made a crazy pest of himself to help force the turnover.

The Jets weren’t done on offense either.

Want to know how crazy this game was? This is your proof. Nik Ehlers scores a hat trick goal… on a breakaway. Maybe the key was he didn’t have a completely clean break from the Hawks defense and had some pressure on his back, but whatever the case was Ehlers has been on a roll the last two weeks and with a three goal lead almost half way into the third, you’d think that would be enough, right?

HA, this is the 2018-19 Jets we’re talking about here. You know better.

The fourth line yet again gets out played and out hustled on the Hawks fourth goal, and a bad decision by Trouba to try and force a check at the blueline leads to a three on one attack that poor Hellebuyck had little chance of stopping.

If nothing else, this game prove how much the Jets miss Dustin Byfuglien when he’s not in the lineup and this isn’t the first time we’ve said this season.

The Jets were under siege for pretty much the entire back half of the final frame as the hawks piled up 12 scoring chances – seven of those high danger – but the Jets manage to hang on in the end with one of the more uglier wins they might have all season.

THE BOXSCORE

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

For Chicago: The Hawks Third Line – Hard to give this to any one player as Dominik Kahun, John Hayden and David Kamph had a tremendous game with five points and really exposed the Jets fourth line (poor Jack Roslovic didn’t know what hit him) on multiple shifts.

For Winnipeg: Nik Ehlers – Remember when the Jets rarely saw any hat tricks ever? Now they happen with almost alarming frequency at both the NHL and AHL level. (Shout-out to Logan Shaw for his hatty against San Diego last night with the Moose.) Ehlers looks to be playing with a ton of confidence in his game right now.