WINNIPEG, CANADA - NOVEMBER 29: Zack Smith #15 of the Ottawa Senators scores at 15:42 of the second period against the Winnipeg Jets and is joined by Kaspars Daugavins #23 at the MTS Centre on November 29, 2011 in Winnipeg, Canada.
Well, that was certainly frustrating. In the first game of what is an incredibly important stretch where 13 of the next 15 games are at home, the Winnipeg Jets dropped a 6-4 decision to the Ottawa Senators that had fans pulling out their hair. The reffing was terrible, but at least it was awful for both sides. However, what was even worse then the reffing was the "defensive" display that the Jets put on. Twice they held leads in this game, including early in the third. And both times they squandered them while skating around aimlessly. Sigh.
I am starting to feel really badly for Ondrej Pavelec, as his numbers look way worse then they should thanks to lackadaisical defensive coverage in front of him. Sure we can point out the fact that we are playing without Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Randy Jones and Derek Meech if we want to, but it wasn't their replacements (Mark Flood and Arturs Kulda) that are the major culprits. Double sigh. On the bright side, Mark Flood was excellent again, and Coach Noel had him playing on the power-play and the penalty-kill. That's good, right?
2nd Period: 7:06 WPG Blake Wheeler (2) (Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien) 15:07 Alexander Burmistrov (5) (Tanner Glass, Eric Fehr) 15:42 OTT Zack Smith (Erik Condra) 19:16 OTT Milan Michalek (14) (Chris Phillips, Erik Condra)
3rd Period: 1:24 WPG Evander Kane (11) (Zach Bogosian) 2:41 WPG Evander Kane PP (12) (Mark Flood, Bryan Little) 9:35 OTT Jason Spezza (9) (Erik Karlsson, Chris Phillips) 13:45 OTT Zack Smith PP (6) (Sergei Gonchar, Kaspars Daugavins) 18:52 OTT Nick Foligno EN (Jesse Winchester, Colin Greening)
Thoughts from the Tarmac
- I have now been to four regular season games, and they have lost 3 of them in regulation. Maybe it's just me. I didn't eat a sandwich at the game though...
- Dustin Byfuglien loaded up on the shots tonight, firing 12 shots at Craig Anderson. He also logged 25:53 of ice-time, but I think that is too much for the big guy. He looked incredibly tired at the end of the game.
- Captain Andrew Ladd won the Green Jacket today, with solid round of -4 tonight. Oh right, this isn't golf. His entire line was barely noticeable tonight, as Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood didn't do much either, but they both finished -2 and couldn't catch our leader.
- Evander Kane scored two quick goals in the third, and finished +2 on the night. The only other guy on the team to finish with a positive rating was Blake Wheeler, but Bryan Little also added 2 assists as they were our best line tonight by far.
- I was happy to see Burmi pot another goal, and was also pleased to see Eric Fehr get his first point of the season, but this line along with Tanner Glass was just okay for most of the night.
- I thought that tonight was the slowest our defensive group has looked yet. Johnny Oduya was caught flat-footed many times (leading to two penalties), Buff looked out of gas, Mark Stuart was just okay, and even Zach Bogosian (with at team leading 26:38) wasn't overly good tonight. Our best defender in my eyes tonight was Mark Flood. And unfortunately, that says a lot about how our defense played.
- Our coaching staff needs to figure out how to help our lineup defend better. Again we sat back and let an extremely talented team work the puck around while we stood around waving sticks. That Spezza goal was set up by incredible passing, but our guys were nowhere to be seen near either Karlsson or Spezza. Is it the coaches plan to not pressure the puck? If so, that needs to change.
- The reffing was atrocious. For both sides, mind you, but atrocious nonetheless. How the whistle didn't blow before Zack Smith pounced on the second Sens goal is beyond me, but I guess that's what happens when you have Stephane Auger ref a game for you.
- Erik Karlsson is an incredible skater. It looks like he is floating around out there, yet he still manages to pick up speed. What an effortless stride. This kid is the real deal.
- Chris Phillips had two assists and was +4. Enough said.
- Neither goaltender looked great tonight, as both Craig Anderson and Ondrej Pavelec let in goals that they would like back, but at the end of the day Anderson pockets the win.
- Winnipeg had another 43 shots on net, so it looks like they are content to throw the puck at the goalie and generate traffic. It appears to be working as they scored 4 goals...
- But when you score 4 goals and still lose at home, something is amiss. Charlie Huddy and company need to figure out another defensive scheme or something, because I haven't seen any other teams run around their own end as much as the Jets do.
- We miss you Toby. Please get healthy soon. You too Hainsey.
- Up next are the Winnipeg Jets 1.0. Look for captain Shane Doan to get a somewhat chillier reception than you'd expect following his comments about Phoenix potentially moving here.