Decades from now when Connor Hellebuyck tells the tale of his first career NHL shutout, it’s likely he’ll have to embellish a few things to make it far more interesting than what the game really was, but at the very least he can be very truthful about how he stared down a team loaded with talent like Crosby, Malkin and Kessel and led the Winnipeg Jets to a 30 save blanking of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Just as notable as the shutout from the Jets rookie was that this was only the third game in NHL history to be settled by a lone penalty shot goal that Bryan Little picked up in the first period.
Beyond that you would be forgiven if you happened to nod off at times during the game as the Jets and Penguins played mostly simple back-to-basics hockey. The Jets doing so in an effort to right the ship on a three game losing streak, and the Penguins out of necessity as they played a somewhat rugged affair against the Minnesota Wild last night.
It should be noted that the Jets did ring a couple of shots of the post that had beat Pens goalie Matt Zatkoff clean. A Chiarot blast from the blueline found iron in the first period and at the start of the second Little’s bid for a second goal was denied by the iron.
Blake Wheeler also had a very good night which saw him get a couple of odd-man rush scoring chances that the Penguins backup goalie was able to stop.
The Penguins came to life in the second period and it’s where Hellebuyck had to be his best as he made multiple key saves against Crosby and Kessel as they had chances in the high scoring zone in front of the Jets goal.
The third period saw the Jets go into more of a lockdown defensive mode, limiting the Pens to just seven shots against, but two of those shots came in the final minute and were actually stopped during a goal mouth scramble by a diving Tyler Myers who bailed out his goalie at the last second to preserve the regulation win.
Special Teams & Lack Of Penalties: The Jets only took two penalties and neither were of the ‘stupid and needless variety’ (in fact one was an unfortunate luck penalty handed to Burmistrov for delay of game) so that’s good progress. The Jets obviously killed both penalties. They didn’t score on the two power play chances they had either, but let’s just enjoy the good news for now shall we?
PoMo’s Line Blender: One of the stories coming into the game was the injury to Mark Schiefele and the subsequent mixing up of forward lines starting with the game day skate this morning. At best it was a lot of ‘meh’ results and as you’ll see in the charts below the numbers don’t exactly suggest that the new lines worked out all that well. It’s likely that we’ll see the Jets move forward with these lines this week and perhaps a little bit of familiarity among the lines will produce better results.
TruBuff Best: The pairing of Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien continues to be a great one. They along with the top line were the only jets in positive corsi numbers and Buff ran over both Malkin and Patric Hornqvist late in the third period. The bad news in all of this of course is it may end up costing the Jets big money wise…
YOUR HOT TAEKS
CHARTS AND STUFF
C+/- is shot attempt differential; Fen+/- is shot attempt differential minus blocked shots; iSC is individual scoring chances; OZS is percentage of offensive zone starts relative to offensive and defensive.
Shot attempt chart for all minutes:
Shot location for all minutes:
TL;DR GIF RECAP