The Winnipeg Jets were looking for a big win against a Central Division rival at home, while the Colorado Avalanche tried to bounce back from a bad loss in their most recent game. Thursday night’s match-up was sure to be a good one, and the two teams certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Jets got the big start they needed, scoring two goals just 6 minutes into the game. Tobias Enstrom’s point shot was tipped in by Blake Wheeler, and the Jets scored their earliest goal of the season, just :24 after the initial puck drop. Winnipeg continued their domination in the offensive zone, and when the Avalanche took their second of three minor penalties in the period, Jets’ power-play found the net. Michael Frolik tucked his 8th goal of the season past Semyon Varlamov in front of the goal, and the Jets had their first two-goal lead in over a week. The Avalanche wouldn’t be held off the score-sheet, however, as Matt Duchene scored his 13th of the season with 5 minutes to go. The Jets took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, leading in shots 14-4.
The Jets and Avalanche played a much more balanced second period, but after two consecutive Winnipeg penalties, Colorado finally turned the tables enough to equalize. Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly hooked up again, but this time it was Duchene giving the sweet pass to the 22-year old for his 10th goal of the year. Colorado poured it on in the final 10 minutes of the frame, taking 12 shots in that period. (only 6 in the 30 minutes prior to that). On their 18th and final shot in the first 40 minutes, Duchene buried his second of the game, giving the Avalanche the 3-2 lead with just 1.6 seconds remaining in the frame.
The Jets re-gained their first period dominance, and came out hot in the third period. After a flurry of action in the Colorado end with time winding down on the Jets’ fifth power-play of the game, Wheeler found the net for his second, tying the score with exactly 10 minutes remaining in the game. The Jets had a few good looks on Colorado’s sixth penalty, but neither team would find the net, and the game headed to extra time.
After a fruitless overtime, in which the Jets out-shot the Avalanche 5-3, the shootout ensued. The Avalanche blanked Winnipeg, with Varlamov stopping Devin Setoguchi and Andrew Ladd, and Duchene and P.A. Parenteau doing the dirty work at the other end. The Avalanche won, 4-3.
Varlamov took the goaltending edge in the game, making 33 saves for a .917% save percentage. At the other end, Ondrej Pavelec made 23 saves, good for a .885% save percentage.
The Jets went to another shootout this season, a trend for the team. In fact, 5 of their last 7 games at the MTS Centre have gone past overtime. The Jets are 5-4 in the shootout this season.
The Jets’ power-play was a big positive, scoring for the second game in a row. Winnipeg’s man-advantage tallied two goals on the night, giving their 27th-ranked special teams a boost with a 33% success in the game.
The Jets finish up a three-game home stand on Saturday against the Dallas Stars, while the Avalanche continue on the road, facing the Minnesota Wild on the same day.
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