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Photo Credit: © John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

JNR: Jets Win OT Thriller Over Leafs

What a fantastic hockey game to watch.

With action at both ends and wild ups and downs, it was breathtaking hockey to watch. The Jets played a really solid game and carried a lead throughout the entire third period until the Leafs scored a late tying goal with Andersen on the bench. The Jets were able to regroup after the goal as they took it to a shootout where Blake Wheeler scored the game winner. It’s a quick turnaround for the club who have to hop on a plane to get ready for the Bruins in less than 24 hours. In the meantime, enjoy the two points this evening.

First Period

After playing a wild game last week, the Leafs and Jets were determined to do the same thing tonight. It didn’t take long for the opening goal as Ehlers potted one into the empty net after Andersen lost his footing while trying to track a dump in. Andersen tumbled behind the net and wasn’t able to recover in time as Ehlers scored his easiest goal of the season.

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After going up a goal, the Jets decided to give a goal back as they allowed Matthews to walk in un-touched and fire one past Hellebuyck to tie the game. At least both teams decided not to play defense this game.

Later in the period, Winnipeg took the first penalty of the game as Wheeler got called for hooking. It was a weird play in the offensive zone and it didn’t appear that Wheeler did too much to get the call. Regardless, the refs do what they do and the Jets had to kill it off.

Just like the other night, a surprising turn of events occurred while down a man. Winnipeg turned the tables and earned a breakaway as Appleton stole the puck at centre ice. He broke in and beat Andersen through the five-hole to give the Jets a shorthanded goal in back to back games.

The Jets killed the rest of the penalty and took the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

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Second Period

The Jets got an early powerplay in the second period, but they couldn’t get anything going in the offensive end. They were able to set up, but couldn’t get any dangerous chances on net. To make matters worse, as the penalty expired, Copp made a bad pass back to centre ice. It was stolen by the Leafs who came in on a three on one. They were able to score on the rebound and tie the game.

A few minutes later Winnipeg got another powerplay, but this one was even worse as the Leafs kept clearing the puck and not allowing any dangerous chances against. The aggressive style on the PK worked well as Winnipeg worked the puck around but couldn’t get anything going on the cross-seam passes.

The Jets were better off at five on five action as they got a break later in the period. The Leafs got caught pinching in the offensive end and Winnipeg was off with a 3 on 1 with Connor, Scheifele, and Laine. Connor passed it across and Scheifele made no mistake as the Jets regained their one goal lead.

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Both teams had chances, but nobody else found the back of the net as the Jets took a one goal lead into the third period as well.

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Third Period

With a one goal lead, the Jets played a textbook defensive period. They continually killed off time in Toronto’s end with tough forechecks and great offensive shifts. They barely allowed any shots on net for the period and even killed off another penalty. Everything was going great until the last 20 seconds of the period. The Leafs had the goalie pulled and they won the faceoff back to the blue line after a scramble. It was a long one-timer from Matthews, but it beat Hellebuyck up and over the shoulder to tie the game.

Overtime

Hoo boy. That was some sort of overtime period. With a ton of chances both ways, it featured end to end action from both teams. Roslovic and Laine were stopped on a 2-0 before Scheifele was stopped on a breakaway moments later. Somehow, neither team was able to score and the game went to a shootout.

Shootout

It was a wild shootout as well as both teams scored two of their three attempts. In the sudden death round, Nylander was stopped, but Wheeler would not be denied as he sent the Jets to victory.

TL;DR Why the Jets Won

With the two teams deadlocked after 65 minutes of play, things went to the skills competition to see who got the extra point. This time it was Winnipeg who won as all three of Laine, Scheifele, and Wheeler were able to put one past Andersen. As far as the rest of the game, the penalty kill was really strong and the overall team defense was much improved compared to the first time these two clubs met. It was a really strong performance overall from the Jets who earned a big two points.

Jetsnation Top Gun

With an assist on the opening goal in the game, Blake Wheeler is your Top Gun of the game. Oh yeah, he also scored the shootout winner with his now patented celebration of ripping the chinstrap off and pushing the helmet up. Just a great sequence for the captain who’s all business during the game.

Boxscore

Next Flight

The Jets don’t get much time off before their next flight as they make their way to Boston right after the game. They have a date with the Bruins tomorrow night at 6:00 PM. After the back to back, they get two days off and return home to take on the Predators on Sunday.