Slow start lead to OT thriller win for Jets
After the first five minutes of the game last night many Jets fans had to be concerned with what they saw from the visiting team. After the next five, and halfway through the first period, many Jets fans were hoping for a cattle prod for the team as still not shots on net had occurred. This was not the start the Jets wanted or any of their fans expected after such a dominating effort and game on Sunday night.
After earning a power play the Jets got some rhythm and started to go to work. However at 5vs5 which is basically what this game was played at they were outshot 10-2 and Connor Hellebuyck had stood tall and weathered more than few storms in front of his crease.
The second period was nothing short of a rodeo or the middle frames of a Rocky movie. The two teams literally stood in the centre of ring and traded punches. Both Binngington and Helleybuck each had enough bell ringing saves in that period alone to warrant a night's work. Binnington's best being when he managed to get a small piece of Tanev's breakaway shot that went up over the net. Hellebuyck matched him with a glove hand or body that simply did not allow any Blues player to see the back of the net. The period ended with the Jets outshooting the Blues 14-10 at 5vs5 oh and with a Perreault penalty.
There was a lot of momentum in that period and the Jets were doing a decent job of killing off the first 40 seconds of it then the period came to an end. Perhaps that cooling off time during the intermission zapped a bit of the Jets energy as when he third period resumed the pressure on the Blues was not there and Tarasenko got a shot on net that was tipped up over Hellebuyck and in.
At least it came early.
That's when things started to change. The Jets had already been slowly taking over the possession side of the game and at this point the redoubled their efforts it appeared and started taking everything to the net including their bodies as Scheifele lunged with everything he had to get his stick on the puck and chip it up over Binnington and in. Tie game.
Unlike the Jets the Blues did not gain strength from adversity, it was the Jets who felt the momentum and poured it on. Wave after wave of drives, cycles and shots came. Binngington stood tall. Each. And. Every. Time.
In terms of shot attempts the Jets owned 73.33% of them at 5vs5 or 22-8. Danger and frustration came near the end of the period and Perreault took his second penalty of the game with a dumb attempt to steal the puck which ws only going to trip a player- he got called. He tried to protest and it was in vain. His frustration shown in the box is curious as was he mad at himself- he should have been- or the official?
OT was more of the same and the Jets went to work. Just like last game it was this methodical effort of not giving a damn about what the opposition wanted and no line showed that more than the TLC combo and the fans knew it.
The shot attempts in OT were 8-1, Scoring Changes For were 3-0, Shots For were 5-1 and the only thing that really mattered was the score ended up being 2-1 for the Jets.
The the top line was it's old self again and they lead the charge all game but some credit has to go to Buff and Chiarot for the way they managed to transition the puck back out of the Jets end for the game-winning goal. Byfuglien had a great game, as did the top line even though at times I felt Connor squandered some chances throughout the game last night. Also, when was the last time we saw Wheeler move down the wing with speed like that and develop something on the fly?
This was a complete game for the Jets and many players and to be their best. Copp Lowry and Tanev had a whale of a game with a 75% CF in 12:39 of 5vs5 time. Connor, Scheifele and Wheeler were not far behind at 66%. While the line of Ehlers Little and Laine were underwater Laine was playing some of the most engaged hockey of his career as he used his body, worked the boards and basically did whatever it took to hold possession and make a play.
At some point Ehlers is going to score and like the start of the season it won't be a monkey off his back we see but rather a silverback gorilla. That's how large it is and should the Jets manage to keep winning and get through this series some one has to get this kid a slump buster.
It's now a best of three series and the Jets have 2 games at home in a series where no team has won at home. The series though is tilting in the Jets favor when looking over 4 games with the last two being the games that really moved the needle in the Jets favour. Now for them to win they have to buck the trend and win at least one game at home. That first chance happens on Thursday night in what may now be the best series of the first round.