It was supposed to be a celebration of hockey returning to Winnipeg.
However, the Montreal Canadiens put their opening game woes behind them with five well-taken goals to demolish the Jets in their return to the National Hockey League.
Winnipeg looked to have found a way back into the game, despite going two goals down. Two bad giveaways by Johnny Oduya gave Mike Cammalleri and then Tomas Plekanec easy opportunites to put the Habs up by two goals.
However, a hard-working move from Nik Antropov gave the Jets a lifeline early in the second period on the power play. Winnipeg was looking confident, using the biggest asset they will have this season. The Jets brought the physical game to Montreal, backed by a passionate and hostile crowd.
However, an unfortunate penalty call on Dustin Byfuglien gave the Canadiens a 4-on-3 power play, and Jannick Weber let rip with a slap shot to put the result beyond doubt.
Travis Moen and Max Pacioretty added further insult to injury to ease any worries about the scoring ability of Montreal. Five different scorers and a power-play goal will give the Habs renewed confidence after a dreadful showing in Toronto on Thursday.
The Jets let the excitement get the better of them. Winnipeg’s new team played as individuals and found it hard to connect as a unit. There were glimpses of hope, and if this hadn’t been such a big night, the result could have ended differently.
The Jets did have chances, but Carey Price looked extremely composed making 30 saves. Montreal has played two games and suffered three injuries. Chris Campoli hobbled off in his side’s season opener with a torn hamstring, while Mike Cammalleri and Jaroslav Spacek left the ice against the Jets and did not return.
Montreal couldn’t have hoped for a better stop off in Winnipeg. The Jets were given a huge reality check, but so was Montreal on Thursday night. If the Jets can respond in the way the Canadiens did, Winnipeg could potentially have a very eventful season.