A night of milestones: LA Kings vs. Winnipeg Jets Recap

Photo credit:© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
By Goose
6 months ago
The Winnipeg Jets are coming off a very successful four-game Colorado and California road trip, going 3-1. The biggest win came last night against the LA Kings, a 5-2 victory where we saw Gabriel Vilardi play one of the best revenge games, picking up four points against his former team, including three assists.
Connor Hellebuyck deserved a shutout; the two goals by the Kings were wildly unfair, but that’s hockey for you. Hellebuyck stopped 32 of 34 shots in last night’s contest. The Jets’ goalie made his 13,000th NHL save, placing him 69th (nice) all-time in saves. Just another 15,905 saves to beat the all-time record that Martin Brodeur holds.
Dylan DeMelo played in his 500th NHL game. It’s hard to believe that the 30-year-old hadn’t crossed the 500-game mark yet. He has played just shy of half his career with the Jets, 241 games. In the game against the Kings, he scored an assist on the Vilardi backhand goal. Nothing overly special about the milestone night for the Jets’ defenseman.
Going back to Vilardi, he scored a career-high in points with four. His goal was impressive with a backhand shot from the hashmarks. Really, the newest Jet could have gone for five points if Mark Scheifele would have passed him the puck for the empty netter. I won’t hold it against him, though. If I am completely honest, I was ready to hit the hay when the Jets went down by two in the first period. Neither goal was directly the fault of Hellebuyck or the defenders in front of him.
The first goal against on the power play for Anze Kopitar was simply due to the fact that the refs were not calling an equal game for the two teams. Nate Schmidt would go to the box for the softest cross-check ever seen. During the power play, the Kings were deep in the Jets’ zone, and Kopitar would cross-check Dylan Samberg in front of the net without the puck, leaving the goal not properly defended, and Kopitar would clean up and put the Kings up by 1.
Alex Laferriere would pocket his third of the season by scoring off of Hellebuyck’s ear from below the goal line. I wasn’t even mad; I was impressed by that goal.
The Jets were down two and were outshot 11-6 in the first 20 minutes. For the average viewer, it was late and time to go to bed or accidentally fall asleep during the intermission.
While most of us were tucked into our little race car beds, the Jets’ top line would wake up and find the back of the net three times. Nikolaj Ehlers was flying to score his two goals. Scheifele would sniff around the net to pick up the game-winning goal.
Overall, this was exactly the win you want to see from this team, especially after losing to the San Jose Sharks, who earlier this season were one of the worst teams in hockey history. The Jets could have hung their heads in shame and made up an excuse that this is the end of a road trip and the back half of a back-to-back. Yet they banded together and beat the Kings and the refs.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how this team was going to do the same old song and dance that we have seen over the last five years. My position has drastically changed; this is a room of winners who are looking out for each other. Rick Bowness keeps using the term family, and I generally cringe at bosses saying that. But this team feels like a band of brothers who will give everything they’ve got to win it all.

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