The Winnipeg Jets secured an impressive victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning with a scoreline of 3-2, partly thanks to goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck has been in terrific form of late, particularly against the Florida Panthers. As such, he has received high praise from many, including hockey analyst Elliotte Friedman. Friedman commended the Jets for their aggressive playstyle in their recent matches on the "32 Thoughts Podcast."
"The thing I loved about the Jets this weekend is that they went for the kill. They went for the jugular."
He particularly highlighted the team's game against the Florida Panthers, a high-scoring affair that saw the Jets come out on top with a 5-4 victory.
In that game, Hellebuyck was instrumental in securing the win for the Jets. He made an incredible 44 saves throughout the match, showcasing his skills and athleticism as a goaltender.
"Not only did they win that game, but Hellebuyck in that game made 44 saves in the win over the Panthers," Friedman said.
But it wasn't just Hellebuyck's performance against the Panthers that caught Friedman's attention. He went on to praise the goaltender's overall impact on the Jets this season.
"(Linus) Ullmark is having a great year but Connor Hellebuyck is the most important goalie in the NHL this season."
Hellebuyck's performances this season have been crucial to the Jets' success. He has been a standout player for the Jets throughout his career, and his performances this season have only cemented his status as one of the NHL's elite goaltenders.
Elliotte Friedman believes Connor Hellebuyck is the team's best chance
The Winnipeg Jets pulled off a stunning upset against the 2021 Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Jets coach Rick Bowness made a bold move to start goaltender Connor Hellebuyck for. This decision paid off, and the Jets managed to secure a crucial win in their race for the playoffs.
"I loved, loved, loved that Rick Bowness went for the kill," Friedman said.
"He said, ‘I don't care. I am going back with Hellebuyck tonight and giving my team the best chance to put distance between ourselves and the Flames, Predators and anybody else you can count on for that last playoff spot in the West’ and he beat the Lightning.”
The Jets are currently in a tight race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators hot on their heels.
Every win is crucial at this stage of the season. Bowness' decision to start Connor Hellebuyck shows that he is willing to take risks to secure a postseason berth for Winnipeg.
The Jets showed great resilience and determination in their victory over the Lightning, who were considered one of the best teams in the league. The win sends a message to the rest of the league that the Jets are a force to be reckoned with and are capable of beating any team on any given night.