3
Photo Credit: © Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G33 Recap: Jets Win Instant OT Classic With 5-4 Over Tampa Bay

For the third game in a row the Winnipeg Jets pushed a game into overtime and for the third game in a row, Mark Scheifele plays a huge part in the victory as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Jets took part in an absolute classic that saw four lead changes and a hint of what June hockey between these teams could look like.

FIRST PERIOD

In what was an indication of things to come, both teams traded great scoring chances early and often with neither side gaining a clear advantage over the other. The Jets did seem to struggle with the speed the Lightning came with but Tampa also had issues with getting past the Winnipeg forecheck.

Midway through the first period after the Jets had just killed off a Tampa Bay power play, they got caught executing a slow line change and the Bolts made them pay.

Advertisement

Andrei Vasilevskiy made a great breakout pass to spring the Lightning rush back the other way and Alex Kilorn had a fantastic finish that Hellebuyck absolutely bit on.

The Jets though wouldn’t go into the first intermission trailing as they were given a chance with the man advantage and after the first unit seemingly gave up more scoring chances to the Lightning PK than they generated, the Jets second power play unit got the job done with red hot Mathieu Perreault finishing off a beauty passing play.

SECOND PERIOD

Second period was more of the same as the first as again both teams played pretty even with scoring chances and near misses at both ends.

Advertisement

The Jets took the lead from Tampa as the Jets third line got to work.

Brandon Tanev had missed on a glorious scoring chance in the first period where his lack of goal scoring hands may have failed him, but he redeemed himself on this play showing a deft touch around the net, keeping the puck alive and putting it towards the goal and then tucking it past a down Vasilevskiy.

As they announced Tanev’s goal in the building, Tampa tied it right back up.

Advertisement

There were stretches in this game where the Jets had ended up pinned down and facing a ton of heat from the potent Tampa offense and in this case the pressure was too much as a 30 second shift spent entirely in the Jets end with the Lightning peppering Hellebuyck ended up in a goal.

Advertisement

It happened on this goal and it happened on the very next Tampa goal that gave them back the lead.

A few different things go wrong for the Jets on this goal as the defense plays a bit too high, the Jets fail to pick up Tyler Johnson who somehow got behind everyone and Hellebuyck may have wanted another crack at making a save there.

But the Jets proved they were nothing if not super pesky tonight as they tied the game up, again late in the period.

Ehlers goal evened things up and set up what would be a great third period.

THIRD PERIOD

After the Jets were hit with a bit of a suspect “Too Many Men” call, the Lightning took quick advantage because sometimes that’s just how hockey works.

While some questioned Hellebuyck’s positioning on this goal, as was pointed out on the Sportsnet broadcast, he had to respect Steven Stamkos’ shot ability. That Hellebuyck froze against the post and thought he might have had it does make me wonder if the changes to goaltender equipment still isn’t messing with his mind a bit and he hasn’t adjusted for the fact that he needs to get over to the side a little bit quicker.

While we contemplated that, the Jets went to work on typing the game and while they didn’t dominate this third period like they had previous games, they still came through to tie it.

With the crowd buzzing, the teams traded a few more chances each way and of course this went to overtime.

OVERTIME

Both the Lightning and Jets go almost the full distance and as some of us started cringing at the fact that such a fine game was going to be decided by a skills competition, the Jets decided to end it before it got that far.

THE BOXSCORE

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

For Tampa Bay: Steven Stamkos – A goal and an assist and was great in what was a total team effort for the Lightning

For Winnipeg: Nik Ehlers – As tempting as it is to give it to mark Scheifele for yet another three point game, two goals and assist trumps one goal and two assists even if that one goal was the OT winner. The Jets don’t get to OT without Ehlers.