Saturday, 14 February 2015

They Look Comfortable

For all those in Winnipeg who have an Olli Jokinen jersey in the back of their closets, you might want to dig them out and get the name bar on the back changed. Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers played a large role in the Jets' shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings tonight, and they appear to settling in with their new teammates quite nicely. Myers had a pair of assists, including a gorgeous rush that led to Blake Wheeler's goal, and Stafford had a goal - assisted by Myers - and the shootout winner! I'm not about to anoint Winnipeg as the winners in the trade that brought Stafford and Myers to Winnipeg just yet, but tonight's game was a glimpse of why I was so high on these two players back on February 3.

Myers played a big role in bringing the Jets back from a 3-1 deficit as his rush, created by a neutral zone poke-check he utilized, caused Howard to make a big save on Myers, leaving him out of position as the rebound sat in front of the yawning cage. Cue Blake Wheeler as the big power forward charged in and deposited the rubber disc into the net, and it was 3-2.

Myers looked exceptionally confident in that rush, and that was something rarely seen in Buffalo. Whether it was the risk of being hung out to dry on the Sabres' blue line or Ted Nolan simply instructing him not to carry the puck, the Jets and Jets fans got a glimpse of Tyler Myers' Calder Trophy-winning form on that rush. But Myers wasn't done there, and he helped his former Buffalo teammate get in on the action.

Granted, that goal wasn't of the highlight reel type, but it was an important goal for the Jets. For Stafford, that's his first in the new uniform, and I thought the newly-formed line of Stafford-Scheifele-Frolik was decent tonight. It wasn't the most offensive line we've seen the Jets roll out onto the ice, but they were very effective in the two-way game that Maurice likes to play.

The two teams would trade goals in the third period to send the game to overtime, and nothing would be solved there. So it was off to the shootout, and here's how it ended.

While they don't give game-winning goals to shootout winners, Drew Stafford was wearing the fighter pilot helmet after the game as the Jets recognized his effort, but it was Tyler Myers named as first star in the game by the Joe Louis Arena staff. Needless to say, though, this game's outcome was certainly affected by a couple of former Buffalo Sabres.

"Coming here, even after two games, it's not so much defensive-zone play. The way these guys play is the right way to play the game and it allows each and every guy to get the most out of what they can do," Myers told Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press. "I've never gone through anything like that before. It was a whirlwind 24 hours. I definitely had some nerves going into the game in Nashville. This was so much more comfortable and I just want to continue playing at this level for this team."

Both Myers and Stafford looked very comfortable in this game, and that's an excellent thing to hear as the team gears up for a run down the stretch and in the playoffs. If Stafford and Myers can continue to bring efforts like tonight's to each and every game, it will be hard to ague against the thought that Winnipeg won this trade.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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