Bigger story: Jets’ playoff run or Bombers’ Cup victory?

Paul Wiecek

I’m not sure if it’s smoke and mirrors or just Connor Hellebuyck, but what this Jets team has done over the last five weeks is nothing short of miraculous.

If you had no idea what their record right now was and just looked at their roster, you’d have the Jets pegged as a sub . 500 squad.

I mean, just look at their blue line right now — Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk, Nathan Beaulieu, Tucker Poolman, Anthony Bitetto and Luca Sbisa. That’s one elite defenceman, some third pairing guys and a couple of AHLers on most teams. Throw in a fourth line right now that also looks more Moose than Jets — Gabriel Bourque, Logan Shaw and Nick Shore — and this Jets team has no business being where they are in the standings.

And yet, seeing is believing. And when you’re doing it night after night, as they have been, it’s hard to argue these 2019-20 Jets are just getting lucky.

Now, I’m a big believer in the old saying ‘if it seems too good to be true, it usually is’ and so I think you’re quite right to qualify at least some of this by noting the Jets have had a soft schedule of late. But great goaltending is always the great equalizer and when you dissect what has allowed a roster like this to put up wins night after night, I think much of the credit goes to Hellebuyck.

After a shaky start, I can think of at least a half dozen games this season in which Hellebuyck has simply thrown this team on his back and carried them to a win. That was particularly so earlier in the season when the offense was struggling mightily and on many nights Hellebuyck was the first, second and third stars.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again — as Hellebuyck goes, so go the Jets. And if he keeps playing the way he has been — a tall order to be sure — this team could surprise everyone, not just guys like you and I.

Speaking of reassessing your views, I’m wondering if you’re warming up yet to my man Patrik Laine? I know you’ve had reservations in the past about his defensive game and overall worth to the Jets, but I think even you must be impressed by what we’ve seen from Laine this season now that he’s finally gotten his wish and is surrounded by top line players on the Jets top line.

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