Thanks to a 31 save effort from Connor Hellebuyck, the Winnipeg Jets were able to survive the handful of mistakes they made defensively, make the Vancouver Canucks pay for the mistakes they made and remain perfect (but not *that* perfect) in November as they outlasted the Canucks in a 4-1 victory.

First Period

The Jets were very much playing like a team that had just formed a few new lines in the first period with a lot of missed passes and guys tripping over themselves and each other. No goals in the first period from either team and no penalties either, but a frightening moment early on as Nikolaj Ehlers crashed hard into the corner boards and labored off the ice slowly. Ehlers to his credit stayed in the game.

The period was actually fairly even – if not a bit boring – for the first fifteen minutes of play, but the Jets fourth line along with Neal Pionk and Dmitry Kulikov got trapped in their own end for nearly a full two minutes as the Canucks closed out the period with a bit of dominating play in the Jets zone. If not for Connor Hellebuyck, it could have been a much different end to the first frame.

Second Period

The Jets came out a lot better to start the second period and almost evened up the shot differential within the first six minutes, but it was the Canucks who got on the board first with a really bad defensive lapse that left JT Miller all alone in front of Hellebuyck.

Kulikov did not have a very good game.

Shortly after that Canucks goal though, Vancouver took a pair of penalties and the Jets hyped up new power play units took over. The first unit played the full two minutes in the Canucks end with four shots, and while they didn’t score they had the Canucks on their heels and forced them to take another penalty which resulted in the second unit getting a turn and this absolute beauty effort by Jack Roslovic.

One strong Jets penalty kill and five full minutes later, the Jets took the 2-1 lead as again the team found a way to get to the front of Thatcher Demko who was good, if not really challenged by anything dangerous early on.

As good as the Jets were in the second period, there were still lapses in defense that put Hellebuyck in awkward spots to bail out the club and the Canucks got to the slot area for multiple chances with ease. While shots in the second period were 19-9 for the Jets, it was the Canucks that led in 5 on 5 high danger scoring chances by a 7-1 margin, two of those seven chances coming in the last 30 seconds of the period in which Hellebuyck had to be very sharp on.

Third Period

More amazing work from Hellebuyck as this game could have been a much different story without his work in goal.

With the Jets still only up by a single goal, Hellebuyck’s save off of Bo Horvat with about seven minutes left to play was an absolute game-saver.

And as it goes so often in hockey, a huge save at one end of the ice leads to a big goal on the other end as right after the faceoff from that Hellebuyck save, Kyle Connor took matters into his own hands, stripping former Jet Tyler Myers of the puck and then putting on a magnificent breakaway display.

With Vancouver now down by two goals, score effects did take over a bit as the Jets played a little more passively in hopes that they wouldn’t beprone to a big defensive mistake. Instead though with the goalie pulled, it was the Canucks who made a mistake in their own end leading to this rather humorous empty net goal…

With Adam Lowry still looking for his first goal of the season, he maybe wanted to score on an actual goalie which is why he gave it up to Andrew Copp, but Copp insisted and Lowry finally gets on the board and gives the Jets a 4-1 victory.

TL;DR Why the Jets Won

While they still lack quality on the defensive side of things, and even though their offensive play improved a bit with the new lines tonight, Winnipeg managed to survive parts of this game where they made big mistakes thanks to the play of Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets at the very least right now are capitalizing on other team’s mistakes.

Jetsnation Top Gun

Is it too early to start Connor Hellebuyck MVP talk? Where would the Jets be with only average goaltending this season? They wouldn’t have nine wins, that’s for sure.


Next Flight

The homestand continues as the Jets host the Dallas Stars for a Sunday matinee. Puck drop is 1 PM MST and the game is on TSN 3 and TSN 1290.