Photo credit:Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Connor continues breaking records, Ehlers’ offensive explosion, Comrie’s first NHL shutout: Three takeaways from Jets’ 4-0 shutout victory over Flyers
By Thomas Hall1 year ago
Playing in front of a home crowd at Canada Life Centre, the Winnipeg Jets displayed a second straight quality performance as they provided their fans with something to cheer about against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Taking control of this game in the opening period, with the Jets on the power play, forwards @Pierre-Luc Dubois and @Kyle Connor played pitch and catch at the side of the net before No. 80 in blue finished with his 28th goal of 2021-22. With that marker, Dubois registered a new career-high in goals (28), surpassing his previous total of 27.
Then, in the second period, this team extended its lead even further thanks to a pair of scores from @Nikolaj Ehlers and @Blake Wheeler. Better yet, the Flyers had no answers for this offensive surge. As a result, they entered the final 20 minutes trailing 3-0.
Despite outshooting their opponent 16-8 in the final frame, Philadelphia’s skaters just couldn’t beat goaltender @Eric Comrie, who didn’t allow a single goal all night long. Once the final horn sounded, Winnipeg claimed a 4-0 victory, extending its winning streak to two games.
There may be nothing to play for during this final week, but if this club has its way, it’ll finish the regular season having won four games in a row.
Examining this latest victory, here are three notable takeaways from the Wednesday night tilt between the Jets and Flyers:
Connor Surpasses Wheeler’s Record For Most Points in a Single Season
One game after breaking @Patrik Laine’s franchise record for most goals in a single season, Connor tried his hand at reaching the most points during that same span on Wednesday versus the Flyers, and he succeeded fairly easily.
Entering the night, the 25-year-old sat at 89 points for the season, trailing Wheeler’s franchise record of 91 by just two points. As you’d expect, the 2021-22 All-Star wasted little time before etching his name into history once again.
By recording his second assist of the contest, which came during Ehlers’ power-play marker in the second period, Connor tied Wheeler for the franchise record since relocation. For some players, that’d be enough for one night. But no, not for the Shelby Township, Michigan, native.
At the 19:22 mark of the third period, the lethal-shooting lefty jumped on a loose puck and skated towards Philadelphia’s empty net, ultimately blasting home his 46th goal of the season. With it, he set a new franchise record for the most points in one season.
Unless Connor scores four goals across the final two games, he’ll finish just shy of reaching the 50-goal mark. Though, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Still, as a competitor, there’s no question he’ll be striving to reach that threshold.
No matter what happens the rest of the way, his stellar 2021-22 performance will be remembered as one of the best – if not the greatest – in Jets 2.0/Atlanta Thrashers franchise history.
Nikolaj Ehlers’ Offensive Explosion During the Second Period
After being held scoreless in consecutive games, Ehlers broke out of his mini-slump last game by potting his 27th goal of the campaign. On Wednesday, the Danish superstar continued his recent success and served as one of Winnipeg’s driving offensive forces.
Overall, the 26-year-old only earned 16:12 minutes of ice-time – his lowest total since Mar. 4. Having said that, he certainly made the most of his 17 shifts, particularly in the second period.
Nearing the midway mark of the middle frame, Winnipeg was awarded a 5-on-3 power-play courtesy of two drawn penalties from Connor and @Neal Pionk. While they didn’t convert immediately, the team eventually took full advantage of this gifted opportunity. As they should’ve, quite frankly.
In the end, after Connor sent a cross-ice pass to Ehlers, he took a few seconds to gather the puck on his stick before firing his shot past goaltender @Felix Sandstrom. In turn, the explosive left-hander provided his club with a 2-0 advantage.
Later in the period, Ehlers broke out in transition and in a blink of an eye, carried possession into the offensive zone. Shortly afterwards, he sprung Wheeler with a perfect cross-ice pass, allowing the Jets’ captain to easily tap in his 15th goal of 2021-22.
Thanks to this showing, the former first-round selection from 2014 recorded his 11th multi-point performance of the season. He also sits just one goal behind tying his career-high (29). Based on his recent showing, chances are he’ll score at least one more time before the regular season ends.
Eric Comrie is Finally Rewarded For His Strong Efforts
When Comrie first took over for the then-unavailable @Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg’s back-up performed well but wasn’t being rewarded for his encouraging results. Well, that wasn’t the case this time around.
Making his third start in four games, the 26-year-old did an excellent job of frustrating the opposition, stopping all 35 shots against. Of those 35 shots, nine of them came from high-danger areas, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. That’s pretty reasonable, especially for this team.
Even though Comrie wasn’t overwhelmed a night ago, he still deserves a ton of credit for keeping Philadelphia scoreless, as he saved 2.34 goals above expected during all situations. Without him, the outcome would’ve been much closer than a 4-0 result.
Nevertheless, the 6’1″ netminder secured his ninth victory of the season and his first career NHL shutout. Playing behind Hellebuyck isn’t an easy job, but given Comrie’s performance, perhaps he’ll receive a slightly larger workload in 2022-23.
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