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Photo Credit: © Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G50 Recap: The Connors

The don’t ask how, they just ask how many and this is fine by us because having watched this game and seeing the Jets come away with a 4-3 victory in a shootout over the Boston Bruins, “how?” is going to be the most asked question most Jets fans will have in the next 24 hours trying to figure this game out.

FIRST PERIOD

The ugly play that happened through most of the game on Monday night in Philadelphia continued from the start of the game in Boston as the Jets got into a bit of penalty trouble early and then couldn’t seem to find a way out of their own zone with the puck even when they had multiple chances to make exits. It felt like only a matter of time before the Bruins opened up scoring and sure enough a little before the halfway mark of the period, the Bruins did just that.

By rights the game could have easily seen two or three early Boston goals had it not been for the work of Connor Hellebuyck who was very capable in net. The big saves gave the Jets a chance to even things up with their first power play which they did just seconds into it.

Another Jets shot rang off the post just after the score was tied at 1-1 and for a brief moment near the end of the period it felt like the Jets were going to escape being tied up which didn’t feel deserved at all, but the Bruins made sure to exit into the dressing rooms with a lead with less than two minutes left in the period and while on a power play of their own.

The scoring chances just 7-5 in favor of the Bruins – high danger listed at 4-2 – but the Bruins had a lion’s share of puck posession in the period and if not for Hellebuyck this could have been over after 20.

SECOND PERIOD

Much like the first period, the Bruins came out and got some chances early on, but not nearly as many legit scoring chances as the Jets defense started to limit play in and around the net area in front of Hellebuyck. The Jets also do a bit better to exit out of their zone, but the Bruins speed gives the team fits when they try to drive towards Jaroslav Halak and the Boston goal.

The tighter checking and increase in physical play from both sides results in a couple of fights breaking out after a big hit on Brandon Tanev sparks a pair of tils with Adam Lowry and then a bit of a mismatch between scrappy Brandon Tanev against a much bigger Trent Frederic.

The score stays the same after two periods with Boston in the lead, but it wasn’t for lack of Boston opportunities to make the score larger as they hold a 9-7 edge in scoring chances in the middle frame.

THIRD PERIOD

The remarkable thing about these Winnipeg Jets this season is that they can be bad – borderline awful for 55 minutes of a game, but there will be a brief five minute (or less) flurry where the offense suddenly can’t be stopped and a couple of quick strikes will change the team’s fortune. It’s masked a lot of inefficiencies in the Jets game this season and it did so again tonight as Kyle Connor went back to back in about a span of 30 seconds.

The quick goals didn’t do much to deter the Bruins attack as they still mostly carried play and they did end up knotting things up at 3-3 a little over halfway into the third period.

OVERTIME / SHOOTOUT

We’ve seen a lot more exciting 3 on 3 overtime sessions this season than the one Boston and Winnipeg offered up which kinda makes sense when you consider the style of hockey Boston likes to play and the ‘hang on by the seat of their pants’ style hockey the Jets have been playing lately. An uneventful overtime led to a somewhat eventful shootout where Connor Hellebuyck – who finished the night stopping 36 of 29 shots in regulation and overtime – put an exclamation point on his outstanding night with three saves on three Boston shooters while Kyle Connor (of course) scores the lone shootout goal for the Jets to give them the win.

How good was Hellebuyck on the night? Good enough to produce a save of the year candidate AND make sure everyone knew it was no goal…

THE BOXSCORE

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

For Winnipeg: Connor Hellebuyck – Big night for the Jets number one goalie.

For Boston: David Pasternak – A goal and a couple of helpers as the Bruins top line was dominant all night