DeMelo’s desperation play a game saver
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
To continue reading, please subscribe:
Monthly Digital Subscription
$4.75 per week*
- Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
- Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
- Access News Break, our award-winning app
- Play interactive puzzles
*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/05/2021 (748 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dylan DeMelo’s stuff block was still getting plenty of attention the morning after.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck earned a 38-save shutout Friday night in Edmonton but the finest save of the night might have been produced by the Jets blue-liner with the Oilers on the power play in the third period.
During a mad scramble, all-star centre Connor McDavid gained possession and fired from close range with Hellebuyck down and out. Tumbling to the ice and with his back to the shooter, DeMelo instinctively threw his arms in the air and and stopped the puck’s progress with the his hand.
“That’s playoff hockey. It was a desperation play. To have a feel for what part of the net might have been open, it was pretty spectacular and we were kind of joking about after,” defenceman Josh Morrissey said Saturday morning. “It almost looked like he was playing volleyball and he was trying to get a block at the net.
“It was pretty remarkable and that’s the kind of effort we need this time of year to win games. It was a difference-maker (Friday) night.”
Paul Stastny’s overtime goal staked the Jets to a 1-0 victory and a 2-0 playoff series lead.
DeMelo and Stastny shared the podium in a post-game media conference, and a reporter’s query about the unique shot block led to a witty exchange between teammates.
“I just put my hands up and luckily it hit me. Even if you see behind that, it hits me, but all these guys are jumping in front of that puck. You need that type of desperation and sacrifice. It was lucky that it hit me and the guys did a great job on the penalty kill for sure. It was a crazy play, for sure,” said DeMelo.
“Was that on that (Oilers) power play?” Stastny turned and asked.
“Yeah, it was on that power play,” De Melo answered.
“I had a front-row seat to that in the penalty box here, so I was wondering how that didn’t go in,” said Stastny, laughing. “So, now that makes sense. I’ll probably see the replay of that.”
Offered DeMelo: “It’s pretty funny. I looked at it after, it’s hilarious.”
The Jets registered a terrific 17-10-1 road record and have already seized two wins in Alberta to begin the best-of-seven, first-round North Division series.
But they were just .500 on home ice (13-13-2) at empty Bell MTS Place.
There will be no deafening roar of the blinding ‘Whiteout’ during games 3 and 4 of what the organization hopes is a protracted 2021 playoff run, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Morrissey said manufacturing energy and maintaining momentum without the fervour of their fans must be achieved in other ways.
“Playing at home is fantastic. But not having the Whiteout, that’s such an advantage to have. Every home team probably feels the same way but certainly for us, our fans… people packing the streets, it’s a huge advantage to have,” he said. “Obviously, we’re going to miss that. But going home, having the last change and the ability to maybe control some of those things a little bit more will be huge.
“But the mindset can’t change for us. We have to sort of keep that hard-style, road-game mindset going home and, obviously, with the back-to-back, those two games are going to happen fast. They’re going to go by in a hurry so we’re going to need to be ready to go and know that they’re only going to push harder and they’re only going to be better themselves.”
Game 4 on Monday is set for 8:45 p.m.
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).