It all started so well for the Wild, with two goals in the first 14 minutes on the road in Winnipeg. And then the Jets started scoring, and wouldn’t stop scoring, and wouldn’t even pause to let Minnesota have another.
The Jets scored seven unanswered goals from seven different players: (*Deep breath*) Joel Armia, Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Mathieu Perreault, Kyle Connor, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler. Good for a 7-2 win, but before it was all over, the Wild got a little fed up with getting scored upon.
“From about the 13-minute mark of the first period, we just quit playing,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s easy to say we’re going to watch the video, but it’s a compete level. Once the Jets started to play a little bit better it was like, ‘woe is me,’ and we didn’t compete against them.”
Maybe to avoid more beef, or maybe just because the novelty of scoring wore off, Wheeler didn’t even bother celebrating the seventh goal, a lucky bounce off the skates of the defenseman:
More than a quarter through the season, it’s a good time to look at the surprising teams and try to figure out who’s for real. The jury’s still out on the Golden Knights, but the Jets certainly look legit, led by linemates Wheeler and Scheifele, both in the league’s top 10 in scoring. (Yes I know I went down this road about this same time last year. But for real this time!) Wheeler, the 31-year-old American winger, is finally getting his due as a real superstar, and he’s due plenty: since the start of the 2015-16 season, only Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Nikita Kucherov and Jamie Benn have more points.
Buoyed by balanced scoring, a fourth line that the Jets believe is the best in the NHL, and a fantastic showing in his just second full season from 24-year-old goalie Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg is red-hot, their 15-6-3 start a franchise record (that includes the Atlanta years) for the fastest to 15 wins. They’re also 5-1 within the division, even as the Central shapes up as potentially the toughest the league.
How good are things for the Jets right now? Coach Paul Maurice found a dime!
You better believe Maurice picked up that dime. As he noted, he’s been fired three times before.