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Photo Credit: © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

JNR: Copp’s Third Period Goal Lifts Jets Past Blues

It was a tight checking, back and forth style of game as the Jets and Blues traded punches throughout the evening. The Jets found themselves up by two goals in the second period before St. Louis came storming back to tie the game. Andrew Copp scored a late goal in the third period which ended up being the game winner as Hellebuyck shut the door in the closing minutes. It was a brilliant performance from Hellebuyck who was at the top of his game all night long. The Jets allowed a number of dangerous shots from in tight, but Hellebuyck gobbled everything up. The other goals of the game came from Patrik Laine and Jansen Harkins which was career goal #1 for the rookie. With two points in the bag, it was an all-around strong performance as the Jets head back home to take on the Sens on Saturday.

First Period

The Winnipeg Jets got off to a bit of a slow start to open the game as St. Louis had a few chances early on. Hellebuyck made a few nice saves to keep the score tied. Winnipeg came back over the next few shifts and generated a few chances of their own.

It didn’t take long for the opening goal as Jansen Harkins got Winnipeg on the board with his first career NHL goal. It’s always fun seeing guys score their first career goal and Harkins did it with style as he put an absolutely beautiful shot past Binnington.

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After the first goal things started to pick up. The Jets had the first powerplay of the game, but in a quick turn of events they ended up killing off a 4-3 man advantage. Wheeler took a penalty on the powerplay as he hooked O’Reilly in the offensive end. With the action then at four on four, Ehlers took a quick penalty, also getting called nowhere near the defensive end. With two quick (and bad) penalties the Jets had to kill off a dangerous 4-3 and then a brief 5-3. It wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done as Hellebuyck made a few nice saves to keep the Blues off the board.

Winnipeg had a few more chances of their own as Wheeler was stopped on a breakaway and Laine had an open look from the high slot. Nothing else found the back of the net however, and the Jets took the lead into the first intermission.

Second Period

The second period had a bit more action than the first with a few more goals, this time from both clubs. The Jets opened up a 2-0 lead as they caught St. Louis on a terrible line change. The puck was turned over at Winnipeg’s blue line and the Jets came flying in on a three on one with Scheifele, Connor, and Laine. Scheifele faked the shot before sliding it across to Laine who found the back of the net and doubled the Jets lead.

Everything seemed to be going well, but all of a sudden St. Louis found another level. They had a few consecutive shifts if Winnipeg’s end before drawing a penalty on Sami Niku. With Niku in the box, the Blues got on the board as the initial shot rebounded off the post and right on to the stick of Parayko.

He put it into the net before anyone could react to give the Blues some life.

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That goal fuelled the next few shifts for the Blues as they won all the battles and spent much of the rest of the period in Winnipeg’s end. A few minutes after their first goal, they added to their total as a point shot was tipped in front of Hellebuyck.

Realizing that things were trending in the wrong direction, Winnipeg picked it up near the end of the period as they had a few shifts in St. Louis’ end. The overall trend was definitely towards the Blues in the second period, but the game is all square at two goals as the teams head into the third.

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Third Period

St. Louis came out strong in the third period, similar to the way they played in the second. Hellebuyck was really strong in the early going to keep the game tied at two goals apiece.

With such a tight game, both teams were starting to put everything towards the net with the hope of a lucky bounce. Most often we have seen that bounce go against Winnipeg, but tonight was different. It was a long shot from the point that Binnington wasn’t able to cover up. With everyone crashing the net, Copp shovelled the puck towards Binnington and somehow it squeezed through the bodies and made its way over the line.

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With the lead back in Winnipeg’s hands, the only thing left to do was close out the game.

That’s much easier said than done as St. Louis had a number of great chances in the closing minutes of the game. The Blues couldn’t score, mainly because of Hellebuycks’ stellar performance as he turned aside everything in the third period.

Ehlers added an empty net goal in the closing seconds and Winnipeg picks up an important two points in the standings.

TL;DR Why the Jets Won

The simple answer is that Hellebuyck was sensational and made the big saves in the third period to preserve the one goal lead. With the game tied in the closing minutes, Andrew Copp was able to sneak one past Binnington to win the game. It was a strong effort from all four lines who shut down the Blues at the most important time of the game.

Simply, the Jets capitalized on St. Louis’ mistakes and Hellebuyck was great all night long.

Jetsnation Top Gun

While Connor Hellebuyck is the easy answer for this one, the award tonight will actually go to Jansen Harkins. You only score your first NHL goal once and it was Harkins’ turn tonight as he ripped a beautiful shot past Binnington to open the scoring. He’s looking more comfortable at the NHL level each and every game and has turned into one of the feel-good stories of the Jets this year.

Boxscore

Next Flight

The Jets fly back home tonight with a season long homestand on the horizon. It spans nearly two weeks as they take on the Sens, Blackhawks, Rangers, Sharks, Blackhawks, and Kings. The homestand opens with an afternoon game against Ottawa with puck drop at 1:00 PM.