Laurent Brossoit leads Jets past Canucks
Laurent Brossoit doesn’t see the ice too often, but so far this season when he does, he’s making the most of it.
Brossoit got the start Friday night in Vancouver, his first since Feb. 2 against the Calgary Flames. With nearly three weeks between starts, showing some rust would have been understandable for the Jets backup goalie, one who was making only his fourth start of the season.
But there was none of that as Brossoit was the Jets best player, leading them to a 2-0 shutout of the Canucks behind a 29 save performance.
“[Brossoit] was excellent. Obviously, our best player. He’s got one of the harder jobs in the league,” said defenseman Neal Pionk. “He knows that [Connor Hellebuyck] is going to get most of the games and he comes in and he’s been ready to play this year. It’s been awesome.”
The shutout was Brossoit’s second of his career with the first also coming in Vancouver, a 1-0 victory on Dec. 22, 2018.
Growing up about three and a half hours away from Vancouver in Port Alberni, BC, playing inside Rogers arena always provides Brossoit with a special moment, even more special now that he has his second shutout to go with it.
“If there’s a city I want to have those stats, it’s probably this one, I’ll take it,” said Brossoit. "They all feel good, especially when it's in your hometown, it feels that much better.”
With teams across the league rolling out more of a 1A/1B goalie tandem, the Jets will take everything they can get from Brossoit. With Hellebuyck leading the way as the team’s workhorse, Brossoit’s success could pave the way for more starts and more rest for Hellebuyck.
That necessarily may not be a bad thing.
"He's been fantastic. Every game he comes in, he gives us a chance to win," said Mark Scheifele who opened the scoring for the Jets in the first period. "It's pretty awesome that we have two great goalies that no matter who is in, we know we're going to get their best."
The win improves Brossoit’s record to 3-1-0. It was a night where Brossoit was tested early and often, making some crucial saves throughout the game.
“He’s just so powerful getting from post to post. He had a couple really good saves where he had to get across hard, but by the time he got there he was really in his own structure, he was composed with it,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
“And then the rebound control. There was maybe one that got away from him, the rest he had a real good handle on the first shot and then put the puck where he needed to put it.”
Brossoit’s best save of the night came in the second period when Canucks defenseman Nate Schmidt raced in all alone on a breakaway. Brossoit admits he overreacted a bit initially, but he was able to recover and make the save.
“I felt fast today and on that breakaway, I felt a little bit too fast. I overreacted a bit,” he said. “I saw he was going blocker and jammed my blocker out toward the puck and a bit of an overreaction, so it hit my armpit and I felt it dropped and I made sure I covered it up.”
Sure, it’s only been four games—a small sample size, but Brossoit has given the Jets the type of play they haven’t seen from him in the past.
But at least for now, and in large part due to Brossoit’s play, when he finds himself between the pipes, giving Hellebuyck a night off, the Jets confidence should be no different than it is when the reigning Vezina winner is between the same pipes.
“Maybe less so this year, but in the past, yeah, he’s gone long runs (between starts) because of the schedule, and been able to come up with some really good performances,” said Maurice.
“He’s underrated, and rightfully so Connor Hellebuyck gets all the accolades that he should, he’s a Vezina winner, but our goaltending tandem is just exceptionally strong.”