It’s never fun dropping a game to the league’s worst team. It’s that much worse when the opposition has not won a game in over a month. On Thursday, the Winnipeg Jets did just that in Detroit, MI.
In front of a half-empty Little Caesars Arena in Midtown Detroit, Winnipeg fell 5-2 to a Red Wings team that had previously gone 0-10-2 in its last 12 contests, which included a 5-1 shellacking on Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Looking at the game’s advanced stats and metrics, the outcome may have gone against the Jets, but Winnipeg was just unable to catch any of the lucky bounces. Each of the Red Wings’ goals came as a result of bad puck luck, with two goals coming as deflections off Jets’ defenders, one goal off of a pick play by a linesman, one power play goal against on a sell-job of a penalty, and another goal off of a broken Winnipeg Jets stick.
After finding themselves with their backs up against the wall, the Red Wings came out of the gate firing, directing 14 pucks on Connor Hellebuyck in the game’s opening 20 minutes. St. Andrews product Darren Helm opened the scoring with a breakaway tally 7:49 into the first period, after defenceman Nathan Beaulieu got tangled up with a linesman at the red line.
Robby Fabbri scored his eighth goal of the season on a power play, with the puck being redirected into the Jets’ net off the stick of defenceman Neal Pionk. The first period Fabbri strike was the first of Pionk’s unfortunate bounces, as the second period also saw Fabbri collect another goal off the body of Pionk.
Down 3-0 just 3:35 into the second period, Winnipeg found its wheels as local product Kyle Connor gave the Jets life with back-to-back strikes for the 12th and 13th markers of the season. Mark Scheifele assisted both tallies, while Patrik Laine and Nathan Beaulieu added the other helpers.
But with Anthony Bitetto in the box for roughing Adam Erne, Detroit’s Filip Zadina collected his third point of the game on a wrist shot that deflected off the shin pad of defenceman Luca Sbisa en route to the net and past Hellebuyck. With the Jets’ netminder on the bench for the extra attacker, Connor had his stick shatter on a point shot opportunity, leading to a Filip Hronek empty-net goal, sealing the deal for the Wings.
Winnipeg was outshot 34-28 on the night, but was also out-penalized 4-1. Hellebuyck made 29 saves, while Jonathan Bernier turned aside 26 of 28 shots in the victory. Fabbri, Zadina and Hronek each collected three points, while Connor and Scheifele had two points each. The Jets return home for three-straight games, beginning on Sunday afternoon with a 4:00 PM central matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers. The game can be viewed on TSN3.