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Jets Stalled by Visiting Bruins

Story by Brook Jones, Photos by Laurie Anderson

Jets Stalled by Visiting Bruins

By Brook Jones

There was not only a sea of blue and white at Canada Life Centre Friday evening, but also that of yellow and black. As has become tradition when the Winnipeg Jets host an Original Six National Hockey League team, there will be plenty of fans cheering for the away team. Tonight, those fans wearing Boston Bruins jerseys went home wearing smiles as Boston defeated Winnipeg 4-2 as the visitors.

Hometown fans anticipated momentum would have continued for Winnipeg after its 7-3 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights three nights earlier, but the Jets stalled as the Atlantic Division’s fourth place Bruins found the win column tonight.

Winnipeg’s goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was tested early on in the game as he made his first save just 22 seconds into the opening frame.

The hometown crowd roared as he was tripped up when he came in all alone and was awarded a penalty shot for when Mike Reilly tripped Nikolaj Ehlers on a breakaway. But in the end Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark won the challenge as he stopped the wrist shot by Ehlers

Neither team lit the goal lamp after the first 20 minutes of play. The Bruins earned the edge in shots as Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned away 14 shots and Ullmark turned away the 11 shots he faced from Jets players.

The Jets earned the nod in the faceoff department after the first period of play as Winnipeg won 58% compared to Boson at 42%

It took until the 18:22 minute mark of the middle frame before either team registered a first shot of the period, which went in favour of the Bruins as Hellebuyck stopped a slap shot by Connor Clifton.

A tic-tac-toe play proved to beat Hellebuyck when Brad Marchand scored his 25th of the season on a tip-in at 4:42 of the period. The assist on the goal went to Jake Debrusk.

Momentum continued in favour of Boston as the Bruins scored their second goal of the game when Trent Frederic found his way on the game sheet at 7:12 of the second, which proved to be his fifth goal of the season. Earning the assists on the goal were Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith.

The Jets finally registered their first shot of the middle frame when Jets captain Black Wheeler went in all alone on Ullmark, but he shot was turned away by the Bruins netminder.

After 40, Boston maintained its lead in the shots department as they had 22 compared to four for Winnipeg. The two-period total in shots was 36 for the Bruins and 15 for the Jets.

Winnipeg continued its edge in winning the percentage of faceoffs as the team won 52% compared to Boston with 48%

The Jets came out flying in the third with not only the first two shots of the period, but also lit the goal lamp when Jets forward Adam Lowry scored his seventh goal of the season with the assists going to defenceman Evgeny Svechnikov and Nate Schmidt at 2:29.

Shortly after scored, Nikolaj Ehlers came flying down the right wing and fired the puck past the Boston goaltender to even the game at two-a-piece at. The assist on the goal went to Kyle Connor, which caused the hometown crowd to erupt in chanting “Go Jets Go.”

The momentum turned in favour of Boston when Boston’s Taylor Hall scored his 13th of the season on a power-play and broke the 2-2 give the Bruins a 3-2 lead at the 15:13 mark. Earning the assists were Coyle and Charlie McAvoy.

Winnipeg pulled Hellebuck for an extra attacker with just one-minute remaining in the game, which didn’t help the Jets cause as Boston’s scored on the empty net with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. Boston’s McAvoy scored the empty net goal with assists going to Tomas Nosek and Coyle.

The Jets edged the Bruins in the third period with 10 shots on net, whereas, the Bruins only had five for a three period total favouring Boston with 37 compared to Winnipeg’s 28 shots.

At the conclusion of the NHL game, the winning percentage in the face-off circle was in favour of the Bruins as they won 53% compared to the Jets at 47%. Winnipeg had 28 penalty minutes and Boston had 10 minutes with the Bruins going one for four on the power play and the Jets zero for five. Winnipeg led in the hits department with 33 compared to Boston’s 19.

With the loss, Winnipeg – which wore its heritage blue sweaters – falls three points their Central Division rivals the Dallas Stars, with the Jets having a record of 27-24-10 for 66 points. behind Winnipeg is 13 points ahead of the seventh-place Chicago Blackhawks, who they face on the road Sunday.

The Jets next see home action when Winnipeg plays host to the visiting Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday, March 22. Game time is 7 p.m.

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