Well that sucked.
After returning from a season long road trip, the Jets opened up their first home game with a great couple of shifts, and then proceeded to disappear for a long stretch of the game. A 23 minute stretch of time went by where the Jets did not manage a shot on goal and the man advantage for the opposition once again sunk Winnipeg. Before you knew it the game in all intensive purposes was over. A 4 goal lead for Florida going into the second intermission saw the home town crowd serenade their road weary warriors with boos. There was no jump or visible effort and it was truly disappointing for fans of the home team to watch.
The 3rd period saw a goaltending change, as Peter Mannino came in to relieve Pavelec who finished the night with 11 saves on 15 shots against. The Jets gave the crowd reason to stay til the end by quickly putting 2 goals on the board off the sticks of Tim "Steam Punk" Stapleton and Andrew Ladd. But more penalties ultimately killed any momentum and the win was eventually sealed by Kris Versteeg capping his hat trick by netting an empty netter.
This was not the Winnipeg Jets team that battled valiantly in so many road games and were never really out of a game. This group looked tired and outplayed for the majority of the match until it was too late to mount a comeback.
So now what?
Easy. The Jets get on a plane and head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets and their league worst 2-12-1 record. This needs to be a bounce back game. The Jets will be favored and they once again have to step up and deliver a message that the team we saw tonight was an anomaly, not the norm.
Boxscore and thoughts on the game after the jump.
3rd Period: 2:28 Winnipeg PP Goal, Tim Stapleton (1) (Evander Kane, Nik Antropov); 5:40 Winnipeg ES Goal, Andrew Ladd (4) (Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart); 18:41 Florida EN Goal, Kris Versteeg (8) (Dmitry Kulikov)
Shots: Winnipeg 27, Florida 20
3 Stars: 1. Kris Versteeg 2. Brian Campbell 3. Andrew Ladd
- The Jets just didn't play the full 60 minutes tonight. It seems that an unfortunate bounce that lead to the first Florida goal took all of the wind out of the sails of the boys in Polar Night Blue.
- Nik Antropov took an Illegal-Check to the Head penalty that resulted in the 2nd goal by Florida. After closer inspection this was a terrible call that targets a big man hitting a small man in a size mismatch. Antro got penalized for being bigger. And I saw zero contact to the head on the replay. Very curious officiating, but Jets fans are becoming accustomed to that.
- Good intensity to start off the 3rd period was rewarded, but there were a lot of defensive risks being taken in an effort to make things interesting again. I know it was entertaining to watch the Jets claw back in it, but that was desperation hockey that cannot be a game plan. Not that I expect it to be, as Noel would undoubtedly know that that is not what has given the Jets success thus far this season.
- Even strength, the Jets were the better team tonight but once again penalties and an ineffective penalty kill did terrible damage to their chances of winning. 2 goals on the powerplay, and 1 goal on a delayed penalty call saw the Jets surrender 3 goals when playing at a man disadvantage. Hard to win games when you're outnumbered.
- Jim Slater lead the team with 6 shots. That's a problem.
- Mark Scheifele had 2 goals for Team OHL in their Subway Super Series 10-7 win over Team Russia.
There were lessons to be learned in this game and hopefully they will be taken to heart going forward. there will be more time to practice as home games become more prevalent on the schedule. From the 29th of November to the 31st of December the jets host 13 games out of 15. Plenty of practice time should help as the Jets need to make sure to get every point possible out of these games. If not it could be a long winter in Winnipeg.
One more note: On November 11th I implore all of you to take time to reflect and remember the actions of all of those who sacrificed so much to let you read my complaints about a game. Many men and women our age laid down their lives, and far too often lost them, in combat around the world. you don't have to support their cause, but please support them. Whether it be observing Remembrance Day, Veterans Day or Volkstrauertag (Smiling Nihilist it's on November 13th this year) take time to realize that no matter how bad the Jets play and no matter how bad your day goes it could always be worse.
Lest We Forget