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Photo Credit: © Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

JNR: Jets Make Things More Interesting Than Needed Against Kings

The Winnipeg Jets were supposed to easily beat up on the Los Angeles Kings who just traded away their top scorer and officially entered tanking mode. Things didn’t quite go as planned as the Jets got scored on during the opening shift. Luckily for Winnipeg, the third line was excellent for the second straight game as both Harkins and Appleton lit the lamp in the second period to give the Jets the lead. With a two goal lead heading into the third, the Jets made things interesting by allowing the Kings to score an early goal. The two teams battled for the rest of the period with Winnipeg taking the game with a 6-3 final. Don’t let the score fool you, the game was much closer than it needed to be.

First Period

The Jets have had a number of lacklustre starts in recent games and it happened again tonight as they allowed the Kings to score on the opening shift of the game. The Jets actually had the first chance of the game off the rush but the Kings came down the other way and put one past Hellebuyck. The first shot was stopped, but the rebound floated over the shoulder and into the net.

Definitely not an ideal start as the Jets were fighting from behind all period.

The Jets got the first powerplay of the game later in the period but they barely managed a shot on net. Laine had a nice one-timer opportunity but it shattered the stick of Doughty as the puck was blocked. The Jets didn’t really generate too many chances for the rest of the period as neither team looked very dangerous. The best chance was from the third line of Roslovic, Harkins, and Appleton as they got stopped on a wraparound attempt.

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With nobody scoring since the opening shift, the Kings took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Second Period

There wasn’t much going on at the beginning of the second period, but Winnipeg started to find their legs. A few minutes into the frame there was three consecutive shifts played in Los Angeles’ end. Even though they didn’t score, they used the great shifts as momentum to fuel their comeback.

It happened a few minutes later as the newly assembled third line scored once again. After getting the goals against Chicago, they struck again as Harkins tied the game at one. The puck came over the line on Laine’s stick and he fed a nice pass across the ice to Harkins who made no mistake.

After getting one goal the momentum was fully with the Jets as they kept up the pressure. A few shifts later it was the third line who scored the second goal of the game as Mason Appleton potted his fifth of the year. This goal came from a really nice passing play as the puck was worked up the ice with speed. On a partial break, Roslovic dropped the puck back to Appleton who found the back of the net and gave Winnipeg the lead.

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The Jets weren’t done there as the top line wanted to get in on the action. The second period saw the same look as the third period in Chicago with Wheeler and Copp switching spots. This meant Ehlers, Scheifele, Wheeler were reunited. The move worked well as Ehlers fed the puck up to Scheifele who found Wheeler streaking to the net. All three forwards had a hand in the play as Wheeler easily tapped in the Jets’ third goal in just over five minutes.

After a very mediocre first period, things were much better in the second as Winnipeg had much better chances on the offensive end. With three straight goals in the period, the Jets headed into the third period up 3-1.

Third Period

With a two goal lead heading into the third, the Jets needed to play a clean, mistake-free period and walk away with an easy two points. However, Winnipeg wanted to make things interesting so they got scored on to open the period. Frk managed to beat Hellebuyck and suddenly the lead was back to one goal.

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To make matters worse, Bealieu cleared the puck over the glass on the very next shift which sent the Kings to the powerplay.

The Jets managed to kill it off with no damage done. Right at the end of the penalty kill somehow Kulikov ended up with a breakaway but he was stopped as he made a move to the backhand.

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With the game still at 3-2 the Jets needed an insurance marker. That came from Ehlers as Scheifele found him with a really nice pass on a two on one. That’s the second pass of the type from Scheifele as he also fed Wheeler on a two on one earlier in the game.

Now it was time to relax with the two goal lead restored… Wait, the Jets got scored one again? It came from an innocent looking point shot as Dustin Brown got a stick on it in the slot. It appeared to be a tip that was fairly close to high-sticking, but Paul Maurice decided not to challenge the play.

The lead was back down to one and things got even more nerve-wracking as Hellebuyck had to make a nice sliding save on the next shift. Somehow a player got left alone and they nearly potted the tying goal.

The Jets cleaned things up after that chance as Laine added an empty net goal before Wheeler tipped home a point shot in the final minutes.

TL;DR Why the Jets Won

The Jets started off poorly but had an excellent second period where they scored three straight goals. Those goals were able to give the Jets enough breathing room even though the Kings scored a few goals in the third period. The third line was excellent for the second straight game as they got the team back in it.

Jetsnation Top Gun

The Top Gun tonight is the third line for the club. Harkins, Roslovic, and Appleton got the team back on track after a weak first period. They scored the tying goal in the second before giving the team the lead later in the period. They played a very fast style and were tenacious around the net as they created a number of chances in and around the crease of Peterson.

Boxscore

Next Flight

The Jets hit the skies for the first time in two weeks as they have now finished their six game homestand. They head into Ottawa which is actually quite handy considering the Jets just acquired Senators’ defensmen Dylan Demelo earlier today. This kicks off a four game road trip as the Jets play Ottawa, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Washington. Puck drop against the Senators is that 6:30 PM on Thursday.