It is New Years Eve! The Winnipeg Jets won a hockey game! You now how at least two reasons to party!
In what turned out to be a somewhat back and forth affair the Winnipeg Jets blanked the NHL's worst offensive hockey team. That isn't to say the Sabres went without chances. The Sabres actually managed to out shoot the Jets, had a "should be" goal disallowed and forced Al Montoya to make some very nice saves.
Ten Thoughts or So:
- What an oddly officiated game. The officials called 6 penalties in the first frame and put away their whistles for most of the final 40. Odd.
- Al Montoya played well and likely earned himself another start. His numbers will eventually regress, but he is playing really well. Monty is nowhere near as athletically gifted as Ondrej Pavelec, but he better anticipates plays and is far superior positionally. The contrast between their styles is vast.
- Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik continue to dominate. Going into tonight the line's on ice Corsi for percentage was right around 58%. They were in that range once again - with Mark Scheifele leading the charge (69.6%). Kane and Scheifele also picked up assists on the empty net goal. This is a great sign as these kids are the future of the team.
- Evander Kane has been incredible since returning from injury. His Corsi for % has been 58% or higher in 7 of his last 9 games. That is crazy good. He has been passing a lot too. Crazy how having somebody to pass to impacts that part of his game. Gotta love the unselfish pass to Peluso at the end too.
- Goals from the back end are back. Defensive scoring has been a big element of Jets hockey over the last couple years. The defense won't score two goals every night, but they did tonight. The Jets need more of this.
- Related, where is Zach Bogosian's offensive game? He has been among the top 5 on 5 defensive scorers in the league for a few years running. His defensive game hasn't been great and he is currently playing on the Jets 3rd pairing. Hopefully he wakes up soon.
- Claude Noel is burying Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien and Keaton Ellerby in order to give his young players easier ice time. This was a strategy he used a lot to great success in year one, but got away from last year and at the start of this season. It is worked in year one. It is working now. Not sure why he went away from it for so long.
- Keaton Ellerby and Dustin Byfuglien are being used at the Winnipeg Jets top shut down pair. It has worked short term, not sure if it will long term.
- Tobias Enstrom and Jacob Trouba are playing well together. They are both very smart hockey players and seem to have formed some solid chemistry. The duo is being given easy zone starts, but they are facing tough competition and doing well by the numbers.
- Speaking of Trouba, he had an up and down game. Tobi was forced to bail him out on multiple occasions, but holy heck that goal. Rocket of a shot.
- Holy Crap, Buffalo looked horrible. They gave up FOUR breakaways to the Jets. Horrible.