I had expectations for this game to be high scoring and high paced, with great saves and big hits. I am learning to respect Paul Maurice for his lineup decisions.
Right off the bat, Fleury did not have a good start. Byfuglien rifles one by him early and it was very stoppable. I mean, it had some pepper on it, but it was visible, was not deflected, and not close range, he just got beat.
Patrick Laine spends his power play time renting real estate next to Ovechkin and Brett Hull. Laine’s shot is comparably as potent as he fires in through Fleury to make it 2-0. The Flower gets a pass on that one, sometimes those shots are just unstoppable.
Then a weird pass from the goal line hits someone in front of the net and it goes by Fleury. Kelly Sutherland immediately waved it off with authority. The play was called goaltender interference and no goal, then the play was reviewed to ensure it hadn’t been kicked in, and finally Maurice got to challenge the goaltender interference call. The call on the ice was overturned, 3-0 Jets.
The entire goal review nonsense lasted over six minutes. I’m going to say that was part of the reason Brayden McNabb walked in from the point and put a soft one in by Hellebuyck. 3-1 game now.
Oh, we are only 8:10 into the game here. At this point I’m fired up, this is going to be a high scoring game.
And then the Jets just slowed the game down. Vegas came into the game looking rusty not rested. The Jets has only one full day off between series, but the momentum from their game 7 win over Nashville carried right into this game.
Scheifele deflected a point shot to make it 4-1. Karlsson pots a power play marker to make it 4-2. The last 24 minutes of this game just had me fighting sleep. It was good hockey by the Jets but not the hockey I like.
Although, I think Scheifele’s line had a 15 second shift at one point. The is where Maurice comes in. He has every player on his team buying into his words. The Scheifele line skated into their end, retrieved the puck, skated it out and chipped it into the Vegas end, then changed. Younger kids wouldn’t understand, casual fans might not, but your “top line” just played for 15 seconds, why?
You have a 4-2 lead, Vegas is pushing, the last thing you want is to be caught in your end for an extended period of time defending and tired. Maurice is running line changes like a revolving door malfunctioning in the wind. Plus, if you read my last article about his trust in his entire lineup, you would understand that from his point of view, his lines might be closer to 1a-1b-1c-1d than to 1-2-3-4. And the way they’ve been playing, he’s right to trust them.
Again last night, no Jets forward played under 10 minutes and only Scheifele broke he 20 minute mark at 20:26. Looking at Vegas time in ice, you can identify the fourth line. Averaging about 8:30 per player, Reaves, Bellemare and Lindberg. Maybe they were just having an off night, I respect Gallant enough to think he may have seen something in them that I didn’t.
This was a good game, especially the first period. If this pace continues and we are lucky enough to get six or seven games, we are going to be in for a treat.
One more thing. Winnipeg crowd deserves a bunch of credit for being SO LOUD. The classic “FLEURY” chants and the sheer volume pregame, crazy. After the three goals Fleury let in:
“WE WANT SUBBAN”