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Photo Credit: © Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G39 Recap: Look Good, Feel Good, Win 4-3 Over Oilers Good

They have been struggling over their last three games to score goals and get any kind of consistency in their game with tonight was a little bit more of the same, but the Jets did take some positive steps forward in the right direction thanks to strong play from their third and fourth lines and a sign of life from their top line. It was all they needed to outlast the Edmonton Oilers on New Years Eve in a 4-3 win.

FIRST PERIOD

In what has become a reoccurring theme these last few games, the Jets came out playing sluggish and not at all sharp with bad zone exits and missing passes. It honestly feels like the Jets have all hit some sort of slump all at the same time where none of them seem to remember how to make a proper pass or play with any kind of speed to their game.

The Jets still somehow out-shot the Oilers in that period 9-7, but (and you already know what I am going to tell you next) they gave up more high danger scoring chances in the opening frame as the Oilers had the better scoring chances by a 4-2 ratio.

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Edmonton ended up opening up scoring as that Connor McDavid kid did what he always does by fighting off Trouba and feeding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the 1-0 Oilers lead.

But at least the Jets looked really good in those uniforms.

SECOND PERIOD

Hey, the Jets we know and love finally make an appearance!

It wasn’t perfect. The top two lines were still having some issues getting anything going, but the Jets bottom six group was putting in some strong work and they were rewarded with a couple of quick goals starting with the one led by the Jets third line of Lowry, Perreault and Tanev to tie things up at 4:39 of the period.

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Upon further review, the goal ended up being credited to Brandon Tanev who provided a good screen and got a part of his body on the puck to get the Jets even.

A minute and a half later the Jets fourth line had their say getting the jets the lead on a prototypical grinders goal from Brendan Lemieux.

The Oilers were gifted a bit of a generous power play on a Lemieux holding penalty call, and cashed in right away to get things back at even.

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But the Oilers goal announcement had barely finished by the time Blake Wheeler was able to reply with a goal of his own – his first in nine games – to give the Jets back the lead.

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Finally some signs of life from the first line!

Not that Wheeler always looks to pass, but it just feels that way most nights and hopefully a play like this serves as a good reminder that the captain has a heck of a shot as well.

The Jets exited the ice after forty minutes with a lead and for the first time in a while it had felt well earned. They were at least equal in play to the Oilers if not a bit better, out-shot the Oilers 17-9 in the second period and were even in high danger scoring chances at six each.

It’s far from a full on return to the jets hockey we’ve come to expect in the year 2018, but it was a step int he right direction.

And the Jets still looked really good in those uniforms.

THIRD PERIOD

The Jets defense continues to be – and maybe it will remain this way all season, who knows at this point – prone to giving up odd man rushes and allowing opposing players to sneak past their defensemen. It happened twice in relatively quick order leading up to the Oilers third goal of the game that tied things up.

For the positive steps Winnipeg took in this game toward returning to form, this is still one area they need to work on and it goes back to playing with speed and being alert. That said, give credit to the Oilers who do have lethal top end talent and if they had something better than a potato as a GM, they could build that team into a bit of a winner.

The third period again was pretty even which isn’t a huge positive for the Jets, but they didn’t get outplayed at least. That’s two periods now they were at least able to keep themselves in a game.

The Jets game winning goal, and last to be scored in the calendar year of 2018 as you probably guessed was scored by… *checks notes* … *checks notes again* Brendan Lemieux?

Look, that first goal he scored was a bit on the trashy side, but we gotta give props for a beautiful tipped goal (and a great fake shot into a perfectly floated puck by Joe Morrow) and yes this likely means that Lemieux isn’t going to be out of the line up any time soon and yes that probably annoys a lot of you who feel there are better options available to the Jets, but right now Winnipeg can’t afford to just sit such deft goal scoring talent as Son of Claude apparently has.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh kay Scott, you’re cut off from any more NYE drinking.

The night ends with Connor Hellebuyck reminding everyone that he’s still kinda good at this goalie thing with robbery on Leon Draisaitl.

It wasn’t even really a desperation save. Hellebuyck anticipated, kept his glove low and tracked the puck very well. Yes his numbers on the night didn’t look the greatest with 21 saves on 24 shots against for a .875 save percentage and maybe on a couple of the goals against you’d like to see him come up with tough stops, but as the saying goes you’re only as good as your last shot against and this save preserved a 4-3 win.

And wow did the Jets ever look good in those uniforms!

THE BOXSCORE

 

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

For Winnipeg: Brendan Lemieux – He may never score two goals again, so we better give it to him while we can.

For Edmonton: Leon Draisaitl – Two goals and almost had the hat trick to tie things up late, but Hellebuyck said no.