Though their time in the NHL has been limited compared to most NHL teams the modern Winnipeg Jets have given their fans much to cheer about since returning in 2011.
Here’s a list of the most important goals in franchise history since the Atlanta Thrashers became the Jets.
Nik Antropov: October 9, 2011
It’s about as simple as a goal gets. A Mark Stuart point shot leads to a rebound. Nik Antropov jumps on that rebound and shovels a puck in from about three feet out.
On any other night it would have been a meaningless goal, but since it was the first scored in Jets 2.0 history it led to a celebration not seen in Winnipeg for over 15 years.
Antropov’s time with the Jets may have been short, but because of this moment his name will live on in Winnipeg’s history forever.
Patrik Laine: October 19, 2016
When you are a scoring phenom starting at the age of 18, you are going to find your way on to a list like this pretty fast. Laine took just four NHL games.
Let me set the scene:
The Jets were welcoming the Toronto Maple Leafs following an off-season where the two teams picked first and second in the NHL draft. Of course the Leafs took Auston Matthews, the Jets Laine.
The Leafs jumped out to a 4-0 lead with Matthews earning his first ever NHL assist.
Then the Jets woke up with Laine as the central figure. He scored two goals, including a late third period marker that sent the game into overtime.
That’s where Matthews found himself on a breakaway with a chance to steal the spotlight. Instead Matthews was denied, the puck was scooped up by Dustin Byfulien who found Laine streaking down the wing. Laine elected to keep the puck on a 2-on-1 and ripped a shot from the top of the circle that beat Frederik Andersen over the shoulder.
The goal is important because it ushered in the era of the high flying Winnipeg Jets. Before that the Jets had just four hat tricks in the five years since arriving from Atlanta. In the less than four years since, the Jets have piled up 19 of them, and Laine has eight.
Some may think Laine’s five-goal performance on November 24, 2018 against the St. Louis Blues should be on this list instead, but the first Laine hat trick definitely feels like it lit a fire under this franchise that has been burning ever since.
Tyler Myers: May 10, 2018
For much of his time in Winnipeg Tyler Myers was given the green light (along with Byfuglien) to activate from the back end if the team needed offence. Head coach Paul Maurice had a lot of respect in Myers’ ability to jump into the play at the right time. So it’s no surprise Myers did exactly that in the franchise’s most crucial moment.
In the first period of Game 7 against the Nashville Predators, Myers noticed his man wasn’t watching so he jumped up from the point, took a pass from Nik Ehlers, cut off the boards along the goal line and fired a low angle shot that redirected off Pekka Rinne’s stick and somehow squeezed between his skate and the post.
Yes, it’s only the first period, but the goal shattered Rinne’s confidence and he never recovered; the Jets scored another weak goal two minutes later before Rinne was pulled from the game. The Jets went on to win 5-1 and advanced to their first ever conference final. It’s the deepest this team has ever made it into the playoffs.
Josh Morrissey: October 26, 2019
Down 1-0 and with the clock winding down at the 2019 Tim Horton’s Winter Classic, Josh Morrissey was finally able to get the Winnipeg Jets on the board.
Morrissey took a pass from Laine and stepped into a slap shot that blew past David Rittich top corner to the glove side.
Not only did the goal send the game into overtime where the Jets won, but it ended a scoreless stretch that lasted 115:49 of outdoor hockey for the Jets, who were shut out in their previous 2016 Heritage Classic against the Edmonton Oilers.
Considering the gorgeous retro jerseys the team wore in both those games, not scoring a goal while looking that good was an absolute crime.
Blake Wheeler: December 21, 2019
Look up the Winnipeg Jets franchise leader list and you will find a lot of names that have little to no connection to Manitoba. The official all-time goal leader is Ilya Kovalchuk, who also holds the franchise record for most goals in a season. Marian Hossa remains the official franchise record holder for most points in a season. All three of those records were set by Atlanta Thrashers who never donned the Jets double blue and white.
That’s why a goal Wheeler scored earlier this season against the Minnesota Wild is so important.
In his typical lunchbox style Wheeler stole the puck in his own zone, started a rush, and out-hustled his defender up ice before taking the pass and beating Alex Stalock above the blocker.
With the goal, Wheeler joined Kovalchuk as the franchise leader in points and finally added some Winnipeg flair to the franchise record book.
The fact he would take sole possession of the record with an assist later that game, and do so in his home state in front of friends and family, made the moment that much sweeter.