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Photo Credit: © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G66 Instant Recap: Lightning Get Revenge on the Jets

It was the tale of two games as the first meeting between these two clubs was a back and forth affair where the Jets won in overtime while this game was the exact opposite. The Lightning thoroughly dominated the Jets as they out-shot, out-chanced, and out-played Winnipeg in this one. Although the game was tied after the first period, the Lightning took over after that with four unanswered goals, multiple coming on the powerplay. The Jets mustered a little offense late but couldn’t come back as they fell to the top team in the league.

First Period

With all the hype leading up to this game, it was evident that both teams would come out with some jump. The Jets had a couple of really good shifts to start until they made a really bad line change. Lightning strikes quickly and all it took was a sloppy change by the defense to spring Gourde on a breakaway. He made a nifty move to the forehand and roofed it past Hellebuyck’s blocker to open the scoring.

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The Jets got an opportunity to tie the game minutes later as Paquette was sent to the box for slashing. The Jets won the faceoff but couldn’t hold possession for long as Scheifele was robbed of the puck and the Lightning came in on a two on one. The puck got deflected and ended up on Laine’s stick who turned back the other way. He came flying down the left wing and fed a beautiful backhand pass to Wheeler on the far side. Wheeler slammed it home for his fifth goal in the last two games.

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As the period wore on, the Jets struggled to cover the key areas in front of the crease as Tampa Bay had plenty of scoring chances from the inner slot. Hellebuyck played well and stopped everything thrown his way.

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Tanev took a penalty near the end of the period and the Jets had to kill their first penalty of the night. They did an excellent job down a man and barely allowed the Lightning to set up at all.

As the period ended, there was a bit of a kerfuffle with Myers and Paquette. Myers got his stick up on Paqutte but there was no call on the play. After the final whistle blew, both teams came together and had a little scrum resulting in off-setting penalties to Wheeler and Paquette.

Second Period

The second period started how the first ended. There was plenty of chances both ways as the game opened up. It was back and forth action as both teams took turns having offensive zone time. In general, the Lightning were controlling the play as they were generating strong chances with odd-man rushes off neutral zone turnovers.

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The odd-man rushes finally cost the Jets midway through the second period as Erne scored on a two on one with Joseph. Hellebuyck couldn’t get across in time and the Lightning took the lead for the second time in the game.

Things didn’t get an easier later on as Copp was sent to the box for holding which gave the Lightning another opportunity on the powerplay. The first shot on the man-advantage came from Kucherov and it hit Hellebuyck square in the face. It hit his mask so hard that the mask actually cut Hellebuyck above the eye. He had to leave the game for repairs and Brossoit came in while shorthanded.

It didn’t go well to say the least. The Lightning scored on their very next shot as Stamkos sniped one from the faceoff dot.

Luckily for Winnipeg, Hellebuyck returned after a few minutes and came back to the crease, relieving Brossoit of his emergency duties. The period ended with the Jets getting a few chances, but the Lightning head into the third with a 3-1 lead.

Third Period

The Jets have been excellent in the third period this season and needed a big one if they were to have any chance to win. The opening shifts were solid, but then Trouba flipped the puck over the glass and was sent to the box. The Jets killed the penalty but Tampa Bay kept coming on the next few shifts. With the puck in Winnipeg’s end, Paquette grabbed a loose puck, spun around, and whipped it top corner over Hellebuyck’s glove. This gave the Lightning a 4-1 lead just four minutes into the third period.

For some reason, the Jets figured it was a good idea to keep giving the Lightning chances on the powerplay as Kulikov took a needless slashing penalty midway through the third. This time the Lightning made the Jets pay as Kucherov fed Point in the slot who fired it past Hellebuyck.

The powerplay’s kept telling the story in the closing minutes of the game as the Jets were able to score another powerplay goal. It was a weird one as Trouba dumped the puck in from half and it bounced off a stanchion as Vasilevskiy left his crease to get the puck behind the net. The puck deflected right into the empty net as Trouba scored the easiest goal of his career.

The Lightning killed the rest of the game after the second Jets goal and came away with the victory.

Talking Points

Laine’s pass to set up Wheeler in the first period was spectacular. Most people focus on Laine’s shot, for good reason, but it seems that people don’t appreciate how well Laine can pass as well. It seems that his passing gets better when he’s scoring, likely due to increased confidence with the puck. Specifically on this play, Vasilevskiy couldn’t cheat on the pass because of Laine’s dangerous shot. This gave Wheeler just enough room on the back door to find the back of the net.

It’s always tough when playing the best team in the league, but the Jets really missed the players that were out of the lineup. Byfuglien and Morrissey would have helped tremendously in the defensive zone as the Jets struggled to pick up the open man on multiple occasions. Lowry also would have helped in the defensive end and Copp could have anchored the fourth line a bit better than Lindholm. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes during the season and the Jets have to be at their best no matter who’s in the lineup.

In case you didn’t know, the Tampa Bay Lightning are good at hockey. While this may seem obvious, it becomes even more apparent when watching them play. They dominate in nearly every fashion of the game. They are great in the offensive zone, but back-check harder than anyone. Their defensive zone is clean and efficient, and Vasilevskiy gobbles up anything else that makes it’s way through. The Lightning are a really impressive team and it showed as they took down the Jets.

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