The Afterburners: Jets Clipped in Mo-Town; Lose 7-1

Tonight, the Winnipeg Jets took to the ice at the Joe Louis Arena, where they proceeded to lay an egg against the Detroit Red Wings.

On the heels of a four game winning streak, the Jets again got out of the gate early as a Bryan Little break-away goal put the Jets up 1-0 only thirty-five seconds into the game.

From that point on, the wheels fell off as the Jets were completely shelled, allowing seven (!) unanswered Red Wings goals.

From a fan's perspective watching this game was the equivalent to sitting through an absolutely terrible movie at the local cinema because you couldn't justify spending $12 on a movie you walked out on after 20 minutes.

It's not the fact that they lost, as that was bound to happen sooner or later. It's HOW they lost.

With the amount of recent success the Jets have had, it would be foolhardy to say that Winnipeg was expected to have won this game.

The Jets rolled into Detroit around 4:00 AM EST this morning and the results speak for the fact that they weren't ready to compete in this game.

But when you are getting absolutely punked, at some point, there has to be a little passion to your game to prove to your opponents that you aren't just going to lay down and take the thrashing they were handed.

Tonight, the Jets made a statement that rings just as loud as their four game win streak. Much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Winnipeg's on ice play is much too erratic to predict where they will be come April.

They played exactly five minutes of what appeared to be competitive hockey before deciding to take the rest of the night off. And for a team that is fighting to make the playoffs, there is nothing worse than the soul crushing manner in which the Jets were extinguished tonight.

No truculence. No intestinal fortitude. No compete.

Wheeler, Ladd, Byfuglien, Kane, Bogosian, Pavelec.... No one player should be blamed for what was the worst display of team hockey that the Jets have played all year. Lazy and uninspired, Winnipeg's stars skated around the ice aloof of their surroundings, straight-legged and apathetic to the game going on around them.

It was curtains after Jiri Hudler scored Detroit's third goal, and things went from bad to worse soon afterward as the Jets were down 6-1 going into the third.

As gruesome as this game was, fortunately there is a silver lining to this loss.

The Jets to a man were soundly beaten, but this wasn't a divisional or even a conference match-up. The Senators, Lightning and Sabres also drew losses tonight, which leaves the Jets hovering around the playoff bubble in tenth place.

Winnipeg also seems to save their best efforts the MTS Centre, going 8-4-0 in their friendly confines. They will have the next few days to regroup before hosting six straight home games which will make up the bulk of December.

The next six games will be Winnipeg's true litmus test. If they can put this loss behind them and win four of their next six, they will still be in the thick of their playoff race, if not in a playoff position going into the new year.

However, at some point, they have to improve on their 4-8-4 road record. Unless they can finish the season slightly above .500 away from home, they have no realistic chance of making the playoffs.

It's as though the Jets are at a crossroads in their identity. And right now, no one can say for certain which version is "the real deal".

Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? We are all at a loss.



First Period: 00:35 Winnipeg ES Goal, Bryan Little (10) (Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane); 06:47 Detroit ES Goal, Todd Bertuzzi (3) (Johan Franzen, Nicklas Lidstrom); 14:56 Detroit ES Goal, Henrik Zetterberg (6) (Valtteri Filppula, Nicklas Kronwall)

Second Period: 04:03 Detroit ES Goal, Jiri Hudler (5) (Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk); 04:43 Detroit ES Goal, Chris Conner (1) (Dan Cleary, Darren Helm); 09:31 Detroit ES Goal, Valtteri Filppula (10) (Pavel Datsyuk, Ian White); 12:41 Detroit ES Goal, Drew Miller (3) (Brad Stuart, Todd Bertuzzi)

Third Period: 01:12 Detroit ES Goal, Jiri Hudler (6) (Henrik Zetterberg)

Shots: Winnipeg 30, Detroit 29

Three Stars: 1. Valtteri Filppula 2. Jiri Hudler 3. Johan Franzen

Ed. Note: Due to Winnipeg's dismal performance, there will be no 10 thoughts. Sorry to all who enjoy this feature, I will bring it back with the next editions of The Afterburners.

For a Detroit perspective, check out our SB Nation pals over at WINGING IT IN MOTOWN.

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