Blake Wheeler, Column, Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Neal Pionk, News & Rumors, Winnipeg Jets

Jets News & Rumors: Pionk, Wheeler, Connor, Scheifele & Hellebuyck

On Monday night, the Winnipeg Jets beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5. The game was one of those games where fans really needed to be in the building. It wasn’t the most well-played game; however, it was a game where fans would have been into it right from the very beginning and right till the very end. 

The game was back and forth, with a lot of exciting mistakes. By the way, there was also a vast amount of skill on display as well. It’s probably accurate to say that both teams showed equal measures of both skill and error. 

Related: Winnipeg Jets News & Rumors: Dubois, Vesalainen, Stastny & More

As Winnipeg Jets’ coach Paul Maurice said, ”If you had fans in the building, that was a roller-coaster for everybody. So we’ll feel we gave up way too much, but there’s a section when you play Edmonton that they take from you, that they generate that is just so good.”

Then Maurice added, ”Aside from that, there was still a big chunk of the game that was loose and ugly and really fun to watch unless you’d like to live a long life as a coach.”

In this edition of Jets News & Rumors, I’ll spend a little bit of time looking at some of the Jets’ players in the game and engaging in commentary about what the game might mean for the players who played in it.

Item One: Neal Pionk Scores Two Assists

Jets’ defenseman Neal Pionk played 24:47 of ice time and skated 30 shifts. During the Jets’ last game against the Ottawa Senators, the 25-year-old Poink had a five-game point streak snapped; however, he began another one last night with his two helpers. 

Neal Pionk Winnipeg Jets
Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Currently, Pionk has scored a goal and six assists (for seven points) during February. For the season, he’s totaled a goal and 11 assists (for 12 points) in 15 games. 

Item Two: Blake Wheeler Scored the Game-Winner

Blake Wheeler scored the game-winning goal in the team’s 6-5 road win. After the Jets went ahead 4-1, the Oilers came burning back to tie the game 5-5 at the beginning of the third period. Wheeler’s goal about a third of the way into the period helped stop the bleeding and surprisingly turned out to be the last goal of the game.

Related: The Best of ‘Mr. Goalie’ Glenn Hall

The game marked Wheeler’s first multi-point game since Feb. 1, when he scored three assists against the Calgary Flames. 

Item Three: Kyle Connor Scores a Goal and an Assist

Kyle Connor scored two times – a goal and an assist – in his team’s victory. Similar to Wheeler, this game represented Connor’s first multiple-point game since Feb. 1 against the Flames. However, it was his fifth multiple-point game of the 2020-21 season.

Kyle Connor Winnipeg Jets
Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He continues to score at a point-a-game pace, and now has eight goals and seven assists (for 15 points) in 15 games. Interestingly, Connor hadn’t scored in three games against the Oilers this season.

Item Four: Mark Scheifele Scores Three Points in Win

Mark Scheifele ended up with a goal with two assists in the win against Edmonton. Scheifele started the scoring with a power-play goal and added the lone assist on Mason Appleton’s goal just as the second period began. That made the score 3-1. Finally, Scheifele also scored the first assist on Wheeler’s game-winner during the third period. It was another productive night.

Mark Scheifele Winnipeg Jets
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Scheifele has scored at least one point in each of the seven games he’s played during February. For the month, he’s scored four goals and 11 points. Even better, for the season he now has seven goals and 14 assists (for 21 points) in 15 games. He’s having a strong season thus far.

Related: Jets Squandering Crucial Points with Late-Game Breakdowns

Item Five: Connor Hellebuyck Wins Ugly, But Wins

Connon Hellebuyck faced a barrage of shots – 45 in total – and stopped 40 of them. When the Jets’ overwhelmed the Oilers by taking a 4-1 lead early in the second period, perhaps Hellebuyck let up. Whatever, Edmonton came back strong.

Connor Hellebuyck Scott Laughton
Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets and Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Regardless, it wasn’t a pretty win for last season’s Vezina-winning goalie; still, in the end, Hellebuyck’s record is now 7-4-1, with a goals-against-average of 2.58, and a save percentage of .917 in 12 games. He made a great stop on the Oilers’ great Connor McDavid with the Oilers’ goalie pulled and less than a minute left in the game.

What’s Next for the Jets?

The Jets have three more games on a western-Canada road trip. They play on Wednesday in Edmonton again and then move to Vancouver to play the Canucks on Friday and then again on Sunday.

Related: Winnipeg Jets News & Rumors: Ehlers, Luoto, Berdin, Laine & More

The team is currently third in the North Division with a 9-5-1 record.

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