A really nice overall team effort from the Jets on Wednesday night helped kick off the three game California road trip off with a very positive note as Winnipeg fell behind by a goal in the first period but then tallied the next five afterwards to earn a rather impressive 5-1 in San Jose.

First Period

Things actually started out ok for the Jets with both sides trading chances as well as power play opportunities on both sides, but about eight minutes into the game the Jets started to be plagued with turnovers leading to breakaway scoring attempts for the Sharks. Connor Hellebuyck stood tall on the first two really good scoring chances that the Jets gifted to San Jose, but the third time wasn’t so lucky as Melker Karlsson gave the home town Sharks a 1-0 lead just after Joona Luoto had rung iron on the other side of the rink just seconds earlier.

The Sharks inability to stay out of the penalty box in the first frame cost them any momentum they might have had and while their aggressive penalty kill has served them well so far this season, the Jets top power play unit which saw the reuniting of Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Neal Pionk and Patrik Laine was able to exploit their puck chasing as Wheeler found an open lane to set up a Laine one-timer.

The Jets continued to play well the rest of the period and gained an extra boost when rookie David Gustafsson broke out in a big way for his first career NHL goal.

Not many rookies get to say they put together a near end-to-end rush down the ice, make a multiple time all-start defenseman like Erik Karlsson look absolutely silly and then beat a goalie high glove side, but years down the road that’s exactly what Gustafsson will be able to boast without really a hint of exaggeration.

The late goal gave the Jets a 2-1 lead after 20. Shots were close to even at 9-8 for San Jose and scoring chances in all situations were even at 8-8.

Second Period

San Jose continues the trend of having the puck a little more than the Jets do, but Winnipeg’s defense does a decent job of keeping shots to the outside and limiting any second chance opportunities. Hellebuyck remains busy in the period as the Sharks ended up with a 12-4 scoring chance advantage in all situations, but it’s the Jets that are the ones who take advantage of San Jose’s defensive breakdowns as well as somewhat sketchy goaltending.

Early in the second, a harmless looking cycle play for the Jets ends up confusing the Sharks defense as they leave Mark Scheifele alone in front of the net.

later in the period, after the Jets killed their third penalty of the game, Jack Roslovic (who was the sole player taken from a scrum of Jets and Sharks fighting) hopped out of the box and took advantage of a Jets rush that San Jose’s defense couldn’t defend properly and that saw Evanader Kane pretty much give up on well before the play was over.

With the score 4-1, it felt like the Jets went a bit more into defensive mode which is to say that they still gave up scoring chances, but Hellebuyck as he’s been pretty much all season was calm and poised in net.

Third Period

As you would expect, there wasn’t much to the third period as the Sharks didn’t really put up much of a fight to get back into the game and the Jets were more than happy to just let the final 20 minutes roll by without taking any chances. It really wasn’t even a case of the Jets hanging on for a win as one may have expected. Shots in the period were 12-11 for San Jose and high danger scoring chances were close to even as well with the Sharks only being one better than the Jets at 4-3.

The best scoring chance of the period may have actually belonged to the Jets as Jack Roslovic got away for a breakaway chance, was hooked up on the play and awarded a penalty shot. His first career penalty shot though didn’t go as well as he had hoped as he tried to go low glove side on Dell but missed wide right.

Desperate for any kind of goal, the Sharks pulled their goalie with just over five minutes left in the game as they hoped for a Vegas like miracle, but Kyle Connor quickly extinguished that thought.

TL;DR Why The Jets Won

Of course Connor Hellebuyck was a big part of the story as he’s been all season with 31 saves, but this felt like a complete team effort where everyone played on sort of level from very well to decent. It also didn’t hurt that San Jose’s defense and goaltending again had bad nights that the Jets were able to take full advantage of.

JetsNation’s Top Gun

Hard to argue with the pick of Connor Hellebuyck as the top guy for Winnipeg, but it was a strong night all around for a lot of players. David Gustafsson played well and is starting to show what he could do on the ice with a little more time given. Even Luca Sbisa and Anthony Bitetto were ok tonight.

The Boxscore

Next Flight

By the time you read this, the Jets will already be in Los Angeles and getting ready to enjoy American Thanksgiving with a practice and then likely some turkey and football. Hopefully they don’t over-stuff themselves though as they have a game on Black Friday afternoon in Anaheim against the Ducks. Puck drop is set for 3:00 PM CST and will be on TSN 3 and TSN 1290.