The Winnipeg Jets are on the verge of their first berth in the Western Conference Final, and 6-foot-5, 260-pound Dustin Byfuglien is leafing the charge.
His play, which has included timely goals and tough defense, has been impressive as the Jets inch closer to history.
“He’s so loose before games,” Winnipeg center Bryan Little said, according to TSN. “He’s a joker, definitely the prankster on the team. It’s strange for me to see him talking to you guys in front of the camera. It’s like, ‘That’s not who I know.'”
Jets captain Blake Wheeler echoed those sentiments, adding that Byfuglien is a “great equalizer” and unlike anybody else in the NHL.
“Having him on our team gives us an advantage no matter who we play,” Wheeler said. “That’s the type of player he is and from Game 1 of the playoffs, he has just dominated. You can’t stop it.”
Byfuglien was the catalyst for the Jets’ rally in Game 3 in against the Nashville Predators, as Winnipeg stormed back from a 3-0 deficit with started with Byfuglien’s goal which put the Jets on the board, and he later scored to tie the game. Furthermore, Byfuglien would up scoring the game-winning goal during the Jets 6-2 win on Saturday night, which now has the Jets on the verge of clinching.
“What makes him unique is he can, I don’t know if ‘take over’ is right, but he can make an impact in a game in just about every single way possible,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said.
“He can defend, he can play real physical, nobody wants to drop the gloves with him, and then there’s an offensive side, it’s a perfectly placed shot, quick hands, all the other things that he can do offensively.”
“There’s only one Dustin Byfuglien, and you want him on your team,” Little said. “You can’t imagine what it would be like playing against him. There’s only one of him. You can’t really compare him to anyone out there.”
“Any time he’s on the ice, it’s dangerous,” Little said.