It has been another up and down week – I think that has been said before a time or two? With the exception of the game against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, Oct. 20, the Winnipeg Jets had a rough week – finishing 1-2. Just when you think they might turn things around and go on a hot streak after taking down the red-hot Oilers, they finish the week off with a porous loss to the now 4-5 Los Angeles Kings. The Jets have just one win in their current homestand and have seen their record fall to 5-6 on the season.
The Jets can thank Connor Hellebuyck for their lone win this week against the Oilers and he is a guy who has really come on strong since his tough start to the season. It is pretty easy to assume he will be somewhere amongst the three stars – find out who else earned the honours in this week’s edition of “Jets’ 3 Stars of the Week.”
3rd Star: Adam Lowry
Adam Lowry did not register a point this past week; in fact, he has yet to register a point so far this season. He did, however, have a strong few games in terms of his defensive play and has actually been one of the Jets’ best players defensively thus far.
Lowry has been playing physical all season like we are so used to seeing. He currently leads the Jets in hits with 41 – that is nine more than the next closest player which is Gabriel Bourque sitting at 32 hits. He was also dominant in the face-off circle against the New York Islanders on Oct. 17 – going 16 for 22, good for a 72.7% success rate.
I also liked the role Lowry played in shutting down Connor McDavid and the Oilers this past Sunday. He played some big minutes against the Oilers’ top scorers and he has been a key contributor to the Jets’ penalty kill which has improved over the past week, successfully killing five of the last seven penalties. That may not sound the best – and you are right – but 71% on the penalty kill is a major improvement from the previous 60% rating they were sitting at before.
Lowry’s punishing hits and strong presence in the Jets’ defensive end has earned him the third star of the week – this is the first time Lowry has made the list.
2nd Star: Nikolaj Ehlers
Nikolaj Ehlers had a solid week and was arguably the Jets’ most dangerous threat offensively over the past three games. He has had a number of high-danger chances and he finished the past three games with two goals and one assist. The biggest difference I think we have noticed in Ehlers’ game this season, is that he is shooting the puck a lot more than last season.
Ehlers playing on a separate line than Patrik Laine has been really good for the 23-year-old – you can see he is taking more opportunities to shoot in situations we may have seen him pass to Laine in previous seasons.
Ehlers has also been operating at his best Corsi for % (CF%) since joining the league in 2015-16 with a 56.4 rating and he has earned himself the second star of the week honours.
1st Star: Connor Hellebuyck
Hellebuyck has become a brick wall since he was benched an extra game after the season-opening loss to the New York Rangers. He stopped 89 of 94 shots over the past three games – good for a .949 save percentage (SV%) and he earned his first shutout of the season in the 1-0 win over the Oilers on Sunday.
Hellebuyck has done all he can to help this team win in six of his eight starts but still sees his record sit at just 4-4. Just when he gets red-hot and the team starts to play a little better defensively, the high-powered offense that was supposed to carry this team goes cold – go figure.
The Jets have scored just three goals in the past three games – four if you include the shootout the winner against the Oilers – and have just 10 goals in their past six games. That is a solid recipe to lose a lot of hockey games.
Let’s hope they can get back to their scoring ways and help out our first star of the week, Connor Hellebuyck.
We are going to be keeping a tally on who earns player of the week throughout the 2019-20 season – the first star gets you three points, the second star gets you two points, and the third star gets you one point. Here is our current total thus far as we see Ehlers and Hellebuyck tied for the lead.
- Nikolaj Ehlers: 5 points
- Connor Hellebuyck: 5 points
- Mark Scheifele: 3 points
- Patrik Laine: 2 points
- Ville Heinola: 1 point
- Josh Morrissey: 1 point
- Adam Lowry: 1 point