After a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 28, head coach Rick Bowness called out his top players in his post-game press conference. “The difference makers? You can’t even find them out there” is how he expressed his frustrations and called out his team for not handling the adversity well.
Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
Amidst a three-game losing streak, the Winnipeg Jets found themselves down 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues early in the third period. At this point of the game, those “difference makers” that he referenced took over and powered the Jets to a much-needed 4-2 victory.
Josh Morrissey Started An Avalanche of Goals
Josh Morrissey finished this outing with two key goals and one that got the crowd back into it after a lengthy goal drought. “Norrissey”, as fans call him, played over 27 minutes and was arguably the biggest reason why the Jets were able to overcome the Blues on this night.
You get into the situation we’ve been in where we’ve lost three in a row and we haven’t played well at all, the big guys have to step up and they did tonight.Rick Bowness
Bowness gave props to his star defenceman during the post-game press conference, saying that “sometimes you step up and be the difference maker, and he (Morrissey) was tonight.” With Dylan DeMelo out of the lineup due to a lower-body injury, Morrissey had to adjust and bring his game to another level without his usual partner. That pairing is outscoring their opponents 21-16 at even-strength this season, according to MoneyPuck.
The 27-year-old defender now moves into the All-Star Break with 53 points in 52 games, as he will head down to Florida to take part in the All-Star weekend festivities along with fellow teammate Connor Hellebuyck.
Mark Scheifele had the other two goals in the game, as he moved his way up to 31 goals on the year. Through 52 games, this is already the third-highest total of his career, with his career-high being 38. Look for him to chase that and more in the latter portion of the season, as the Jets look to push for the number one seed in the Western Conference.
Jets Needed This Win Going Into All-Star Break
The Jets stumbled into the break, as coming into this contest they had dropped their last three games and five of their last seven. A few of those losses came against inferior opponents such as the Flyers, Nashville Predators, and Montreal Canadiens.
Related: Jets Still Fighting Negative Effects of Paul Maurice
The Jets’ next game is not until Feb. 11, against the Chicago Blackhawks, which gives them a break longer than other teams across the league. The NHL resumes play on Feb. 6, but the Jets will have every opportunity to rest and recover for what is to come.
The team looked visibly fatigued against the Buffalo Sabres and Flyers, after playing nine of their last 10 games on the road. Bowness called them out publicly for their efforts and they responded. Another lacklustre effort in this game would have sent fans into a spiral.
Big-Picture Outlook As The Jets Move Through All-Star Break
This win was a step in the right direction for the organization. They need to return to their ways of dominance well before the playoffs, and they fought off plenty of negative storylines by picking up the two points in this game. In a puzzling series of events, Nikolaj Ehlers started the game on the fourth line but was quickly moved up to the top line alongside Scheifele and Kyle Connor, and that line proved to be crucial to the team’s success in the third period.
The Jets are facing huge months in February and March. Not only are they in a race with the Dallas Stars for first place in the division, but the trade deadline is looming large. It is largely assumed at this point that they will be buyers, but how big of a swing will they take? Names like Timo Meier and Sam Reinhart have been thrown around, and with Bo Horvat being traded to the Islanders, the Jets will look to act fast if they want to acquire their preferred player.