The Winnipeg Jets came into Saturday afternoon’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on a three-game losing streak, and they were able to bring that to a halt with a convincing 3-1 win. It was the highest-attended game of the year for the Jets, drawing 14,189 people to watch Connor Bedard and the Jets battle.
Bedardopened the scoring just 4:39 into the first period, which is something that fans of the Winnipeg Jets may be seeing for decades to come. Here are three takeaways from the Jets’ win over the Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.
“Connor Bedard is Worth the Price of Admission” – Rick Bowness
Bedard finished with a goal and three shots on goal in this one, as he leads all rookies across the NHL in goals with 11. Bowness is correct in his assessment of Bedard being worth the price of admission, as Bedard constantly drew reactions from the crowd on every dangerous chance.
Bowness stated post-game: “Wow, he’s lived up to the billing. His Hockey IQ is off the charts, and his poise and confidence to use the IQ and the skills, he made some phenomenal plays, wow. He’s worth the price of admission. He’s a fun kid to watch play.”
Bedard is one of the most special talents the league has ever seen at 18 years old, and his impressive season is only getting underway. It’s early, but the flashes are there, and the most recent first-overall selection has lived up to the high expectations.
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The Jets were able to contain him for the most part, as his goal turned out to be the lone marker in this one. Jets fans will be seeing plenty of Bedard on the division rival Blackhawks, as the future likely holds him scoring plenty of goals against the Jets.
Cole Perfetti is in the Middle of a Breakout Campaign
Cole Perfetti scored the Jets’ third goal of the night, on a deflection from a point shot off of Dylan Samberg’s stick. That was his ninth goal of the season and one that gives him a new career-high in goals. Last year he finished with eight in 51 games, and through just 23 games this year, he’s got nine goals.
It’s safe to say that Perfetti is in the middle of a breakout season with Winnipeg, and his contributions within the top six have not gone unnoticed. Gabe Vilardi slid up to the second line to play alongside Perfetti and Iafallo, a combination that the Jets have yet to use this season. Vladislav Namesntikov being out with a lower-body injury forced this change in the Jets’ top six.
Bowness spoke to Perfetti’s season post-game, saying: “He’s trying to take that next step, and the more he plays and the more experience he gains, the more you hope he just keeps getting better and better. He’s got that hockey IQ and the ability to see the ice, and know where to be, and know where people are, and you can’t teach the stuff that he does.”
Declan Chisholm May Have Earned Another Look Defensively
Chisholm looked comfortable in this one, having not played for any of the first 22 games of the season after winning a depth role in training camp. With the Manitoba Moose of the AHL, Chisholm was typically a smooth-skating, puck-moving defender who has offensive upside, and he carried that performance into this one.
Rick Bowness spoke glowingly of Chisholm in the post-game when he stated: “I thought he was very confident and poised with the puck and that’s what we wanted him to do tonight. He skates well we know that, but he was confident with the puck. The plays he made were the right play. He didn’t make the wrong play. Sometimes when you’re under pressure you give your problems to somebody else and you’re passing it to the wrong guy, he passed it to the right guy.”
It will be interesting to see whether or not Chisholm has earned another look, but he played about as well as you could’ve hoped if you were Bowness and the coaching staff. With how inconsistent Nate Schmidt has been this season, there is a role to be won for Chisholm, and he absolutely has the potential and upside to win the job.