© Chuck Duboff
I’ve been very cautious in letting myself believe that this Jets team has what it takes to be a serious contender. After last night’s exciting 6-4 win over Nashville, and from the way I saw them play back to back against St. Louis, there is no longer any doubt in my mind that this team hast the talent, the grit, the character to not only make the playoffs, but to have a long run to Lord Stanley’s Cup. “That was a huge win!!” Blake Wheeler.
Brandon Tanev’s goal with 1:25 left in a tied game, was as thrilling a Jets goal that I have seen since Dave Ellet scored in double overtime against the Oilers in the playoffs!! I said last week in one of my Jets blogs that we needed more from the third line; last night Adam Lowry opened the game with his fifth goal, Tanev scored the game winner and Andrew Copp continues to chip in with assists. Having a fabulous checking line that can also provide some offence will take you a long way down that championship path.
The Jets are demonstrating character and resolve even when things don’t go their way; last Saturday evening they dominated the Blues, only to be stymied by the brilliant play of Carter Hutton, which resulted in a 2-0 loss. Sunday afternoon the Jets were once again playing well, but were being shutout by the Blues. This Jets team is different though…they kept persevering, the goals started coming, and the Jets went on to a 4-0 win. That showed a mental toughness which will be needed in the playoffs. Fast forward to last night; the Jets played a great first period and had a 1-0 lead. Suddenly Nashville scored two goals in the last minute of the period to take a 2-1 lead. Last year’s Jets would have collapsed, but this team is different, this team is for Real!! Not only did they fight back, but they took a 4-3 lead on goals by Laine and a pair by Ehlers. That’s mental toughness, that’s grit, that’s character and that’s what it’s going to take to win in the playoffs.
It’s really hard to single out any players; the Jets went with four d-men in the third period and both Josh Morrisey and Jacob Trouba were outstanding, while Myers and Kulikov were tremendous. It was great seeing Patrik Laine score on a brilliant five on five goal and Nic Ehlers continues to score and play great hockey. The Great Dane and the Laine Laser are going to take us a long way this season; they both sit at 17 goals and are on a pace for 45. I have harped on the notion that you can’t sit on your hands when things aren’t going well…in the second period Coach Maurice switched up Conner and Ehlers and it seemed to light a spark for both lines. You can’t sit idly by, you’ve got to be prepared to make a change when things aren’t going well. The Captain, Blake Wheeler, what a gutsy effort by that man, leading by example and giving every ounce he has to lead the team to victory.
I’m not suddenly saying that we should start planning parades at Portage and Main, nor am I saying we’re going to win the Cup, but I am certain of one thing…this team has the character, talent and grit it will take to make the playoffs and to do some damage in the playoffs. I may not go by all the Corsi and Analytics numbers as our great Jets blogger Geoff Brookes does, but, my eyes tell me that this Jets team is for Real and its time to be less cautious and to believe that this could be a very special season!!