ANALYSIS: Jets fans can make home games difficult for visiting teams again

In the euphoria of their first shootout win of the season, Winnipeg Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey made a sincere proclamation in suggesting wins like Tuesday’s undoubtedly help to reclaim a lost reputation.

What was once considered an extremely adverse National Hockey League environment for visiting teams, Canada Life Centre’s notoriety — even prior to COVID-19 — started to slip, and that dissipation resulted in home-ice victories waning in the process.

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To that point, Morrissey mentioned it was his team’s responsibility to re-instill their building’s stature — and winning was the only way to do it, especially with thrilling comebacks like Tuesday night’s over Seattle.

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And while the sellouts are less frequent this season than they used to be, the crowds have been no less engaged, witnessing their team produce the fourth-best home record in the league to date, with 20 wins over 28 home games.

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Tuesday night, the 14,000-plus roared in appreciation over several plays by their Jets, including two key shot blocks by Adam Lowry on the penalty kill without a stick in his hands that evoked a standing ovation.

They erupted again in the third period when the Jets tied the score on Pierre-Luc Dubois’s rebound goal, and then saved the best for last when Dubois won the contest with a wrist shot that beat Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer for the second shootout game-deciding goal of his career.

For the Jets and their fans, it might be the smallest building in the league, but the challenge of winning there for the opposition is possibly becoming as large as any — once again. And that’s a testament to a hockey team that’s playing hard, fun to watch — and winning.

Perhaps upon further inspection, downtown Winnipeg’s reputation as a hard place to play for the other 31 teams was, in fact, never lost, just misplaced for a while, which is something Morrissey and his team are out to proclaim.

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Weekly Jets review with John Shannon

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