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Hellebuyck, Laine and Defense shine in 4-1 win over Penguins

October 9, 2019, 3:49 PM ET [56 Comments]
Peter Tessier
Winnipeg Jets Blogger •Winnipeg Jets Writer • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Looking back on last night's game is fun and now that the euphoria of seeing 2 goals from the defense and near perfect game from Hellebuyck has worn off it's time to take stock of the surprising result. For the Jets, they came in with a defense that had the combined experience of NHL games played that was less than every individual Penguins defense player games played.

Yet here we are, the day after marveling at a 4-1 win in a game that saw rookie Ville Heinola in his 4th NHL game score the first goal of all players from the 2019 NHL draft, with Neal Pionk adding the icing on the cake with his first. Oh Tucker Poolman got in on the action too with his first goal as well.

The game opened in a manner that most Jets were expecting given the state of the defense and who Maurice had out to start (Pionk Dalstrom) when Crosby Scored :32 seconds into the game but then it changed. The Jets pushed back but not by shot volume but by seizing opportunity and Matt Murray did not have many answers.

Taking stock of this game is hard, the Penguins were playing with 11 forward and 7 D and missing Malkin. That's a disadvantage but given the state of the Jets defense how much? What was surprising is that despite some, or many, opportunities for the Penguins the Jets kept pushing back with their own at least until the third period when they hung on for deal life.

What stood out as the difference in this game is that Connor Hellebuyck bested Matt Murray plain and simple. When Hellebuyck needed to make saves he did and some in spectacular fashion as well, for Murray it was a different story. He never faced the barrage that Hellebuyck did but he did not shine when called upon. There were probably at least 2 goals let in that Murray expects to stop regularly maybe more. The Jets won but don't let that big W to finish an opening 4 game road trip fool you, that was far from a defensive masterpiece and Hellebuyck will be called upon to play like that more often than not.

The other aspect of the game that stood out was the Penguins did not commit one penalty last night. Better said the Penguins were not called for one penalty and the Jets obviously had no power plays. Did they really play that perfect of a game? Also Laine, he was involved in much of the play when on the ice, even against Crosby. In fact he made a nice play along boards to set up Scheifele's disallowed goal and he finished with three assists. He's looking more and more like a guy who wants to play a 200 foot game.

The good news is the Jets are treading water at .500 but there appears to be no end in sight for the defensive woes. Congrats to Kulikov on the safe and healthy arrival of child number two and glad his wife is well. That's why he was away from the team. Funny how everyone complained about Ladd doing that. Onwards to the home opener.
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