The Winnipeg Jets gave their fans the perfect gift heading into the Christmas break, dominating the Boston Bruins in a 5-1 win Friday night at Canada Life Centre.
For a brief moment in time early on, the Jets thought they had opened the scoring.
Vladislav Namestnikov and Josh Morrissey were sprung on a 2-on-1 when a Bruins defender fell at the Winnipeg blue line. Namestnikov held onto the puck as he skated into the Boston end, continuing to be patient as he carried it around Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman before attempting to tuck it around the post.
The puck trickled into the crease where Morrissey attempted to get a stick on it but instead, he redirected it into the net with his skate. An official waved it off after a short blast of the goal horn, a call that was upheld after a quick check of the video replay.
Winnipeg carried the bulk of the play during the first period though it looked like it would go unrewarded until the final seconds of the frame.
A missed shot from Charlie McAvoy rimmed around the boards and sent the Jets away on an odd-man rush. Mark Scheifele sent the puck cross-ice to Gabriel Vilardi who couldn’t get it past Swayman, but Morrissey, trailing the play, banged home the rebound with 7.8 seconds left in the period.
Just over three minutes into the second period, the Bruins earned the first power play chance of the game when Brad Marchand was tripped by Neal Pionk. The Jets killed it off and a few minutes later, they earned their first power play opportunity of the night but Boston’s league-best penalty kill took care of that with ease.
Get the latest National news.Sent to your email, every day.
While stopping the Jets power play may not be too difficult, slowing down their top line has proven too much to handle for several opponents recently and just over 11 minutes into the middle period, they struck again.
Scheifele fed Nikolaj Ehlers in the corner in the Bruins’ end before Ehlers fired a shot on goal from a tough angle. Swayman stopped it but the rebound fell in front of him and Vilardi was the first to get a stick on it, banging it home to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.
With 4:14 remaining in the period, the Bruins were called for having six men on the ice, giving the Jets a second crack at the power play. After 90 seconds, Boston’s Parker Wotherspoon caught the puck out of the air while standing in the crease and threw it, giving Winnipeg a penalty shot.
Scheifele took the shot and was denied in close by Swayman, but Winnipeg got control of the puck off the ensuing faceoff with their second PP unit and got the job done.
Nate Schmidt walked the puck in from the point and slid it to Nino Niederreiter at the back post. Niederreiter initially lost the puck in his skates but he was able to get it back to his stick and slide it into the net before Swayman could come across, giving the Jets just their third power play goal in December.
Alex Batty, British boy missing for 6 years, reveals why he fled his mother
Family wins $50 million just before Christmas, and now plans to buy a farm
The Jets held Boston to zero shots on goal in the final 14:22 as they carried the 3-0 lead into the third period, carrying a 21-13 edge in shots through 40 minutes.
Any thoughts of a Bruins comeback was snuffed out early in the third when Winnipeg’s captain made it 4-0.
Mason Appleton led a rush into the Boston end and fired a shot on Swayman that was stopped but he collected the rebound near the base of the faceoff circle. He then fired a pass to the crease where Adam Lowry was waiting to steer it into the net just 1:25 into the period.
As the clock wound down and a Jets win pretty much certain, the question would be whether Connor Hellebuyck could lock down the shutout, but a seeing-eye shot from Brandon Carlo with 5:38 to go deflected off the stick of Brenden Dillon and past Hellebuyck to put an end to that idea.
That was as close as the Bruins would get as Winnipeg tacked on another power play goal for good measure with 18.9 seconds left when Niederreiter scored his second of the game from the slot.
With the win, the Jets snap a six-game losing skid against the Bruins that dated back to 2019, regaining control of first place in the Central division.
While the Bruins have one more game before the Christmas break, the Jets are done until Wednesday when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.