Considering the fact that Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Josh Morrissey and Jacob Trouba each did not record a single point on the night, Winnipeg’s offence continued to roll from the bottom up. Although being gifted the most icetime five on five, the Jets’ top line was unable to find the twine – other than a called off power play goal in the first period.
Thursday night certainly provided the Jets with much depth scoring as Bryan Little, Brandon Tanev, Mason Appleton and Brendan Lemieux (x2) got in on the act offensively. Defencemen Joe Morrow (three assists) and Sami Niku (two assists) each also put together their most productive games of the 2018-19 season.
With injuries to forward Nikolaj Ehlers and defencemen Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot, those thrust into action in supporting roles definitely proved their worth in Nashville. Winnipeg entered the contest just two points up on the Predators for first place in the Central Division (with two games in hand), and walked away a full four points ahead.
Connor Hellebuyck stood his ground, taking the reins back from backup Laurent Brossoit, while silencing the critics skeptical of Head Coach Paul Maurice’s decision not to ride the hot hand heading into an important clash with a strong division rival. The 25-year-old American netminder stopped 37 of 38 shots, en route to his 21st victory of the season.
Winnipeg now sits at 31-14-2, good for second place in the Western Conference, just one point behind the Calgary Flames – whom they have one game in hand on. The Jets now head to Dallas for a Saturday evening showdown with another Central Division rival in the Stars. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. central and is available to all viewers on Sportsnet.