Although off for over a week as the league observed its annual All-Star Weekend, the Jets were thrust right back into the swing of things with back-to-back road contests against Eastern Conference opponents to begin the league’s unofficial second half of the season.
A Monday evening contest in Philadelphia did not go Winnipeg’s way, as Manitoba’s Nolan Patrick and Co. took it to the Jets, beating the visitors 3-1 on solid goaltending from rookie backstop Carter Hart, and a strong offensive performance from James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny.
Jack Roslovic collected his third goal of the season off of a Jacob Trouba point shot, but one goal was all that Winnipeg could manage. Laurent Brossoit stopped 28 of 31 shots, but picked up his second loss of the season.
The Jets’ fortunes changed on Tuesday evening in Boston, even though the team fell behind rather quickly to the hometown Bruins. Entering the third period, Winnipeg trailed Boston 2-1 on the scoreboard, and 25-17 in the shot department. However, in relying on some timely scoring, Kyle Connor and the Jets gave their fans an eventful second half of the game.
After seeing Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak help the Bruins out to a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of hockey, Kyle Connor took matters into his own hands in the third period. First, he collected a lead pass from Tyler Myers and roofed a breakaway chance, before responding 34 seconds later on a sweet offensive zone passing play from Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.
Although pulling ahead momentarily, the Jets did allow Boston to tie the game back up as Bergeron picked up his second goal of the game midway through the third period. The game went the distance to no avail. Overtime solved nothing, and a five-man shootout was the result.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped all three shooters he faced, while Connor scored the only goal of the tiebreaker, putting a nifty backhander past the blocker of Boston netminder Jaroslav Halak. Hellebuyck stopped 36 of 39 shots for his 22nd victory of the season, while Halak made 24 saves.
The Jets will now return home to Winnipeg to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday evening, before Pacific Division teams Anaheim and San Jose make stops in Manitoba on Saturday and the following Tuesday. Thursday’s game from Bell MTS Place begins at 7:00 P.M. central, and can be viewed live on TSN3.