Playing for the tie so that they can try their luck in overtime or shootout. What an interesting strategy. #noelogic
Luckily for the Winnipeg Jets it paid off tonight. After Blake Wheeler tipped in a point shot from Jacob Trouba early in the game, they tried their best to put the Tampa Bay Lightning and all the fans in the Tampa Bay Times Forum (including a hefty contingent of Jets fans) to sleep. It actually worked too well, as a few Jets were counting sheep when Nate Thompson scored with less than two seconds left in the second to knot the game up at one.
And then? The Jets sat back and played for the tie. It was actually mentioned a few times on the CBC broadcast, as the team employed a 1-4 for the majority of the 3rd and let the Lightning keep coming at them. A great pad save by Al Montoya off of an in-tight chance from Nikita Kucherov late in the 3rd ensured the game went to overtime, and with the single point saved it was off to play some free hockey.
Yes, Mark Scheifele tapped in the game-winner on a great feed from Blake Wheeler to give the Jets the win. That's the good news. But it came seconds after Alex Killorn rang the post on a partial breakaway, in which Montoya kind of dropped his stick in an attempted poke-check. This easily could have gone the other way. But it didn't, and the end result is another two-points in the bank for the good guys and a 4-2 road trip.
- I'm having a hard time feeling excitement about the victory after how they played that third period. Call me whatever names you want, and I'm sure some of you will, but that's my opinion. Sitting back in a 1-4 against a Lightning team without Steven Stamkos and playing for the loser point is not my idea of a good time.
- Seriously. The Jets sat back and barely escaped with regulation wins in New Jersey and Long Island to start this trip, and sat back with the tie tonight and nearly lost in regulation. This is a troubling trend that many of us here at AIH have complained about. I hate it.
- Were they tired? Perhaps. But this was only their sixth game in 13 days, with beaches to lay on and sun-rays to soak in during their off-days. There was not one back-to-back on this trip either, so I'm not sure if this can be used as a reason.
- The powerplay went oh-for. Again. What more can be said? It bad.
- On to the good news. Al Montoya finished 2-0 on the road trip and stopped 56 of 59 shots for a 0.949 sv%. This isn't meant to slam Ondrej Pavelec, as he was good on this trip (other than in Florida but the whole team stank), but the backup continues his solid play in relief. This can only help going forward.
- Jacob Trouba made a few cute moves that nearly backfired on him, but overall I thought he was solid yet again. He played the 2nd most minutes on the Jets with 24:14 (second only to Dustin Byfuglien and his 26:14), added an assist and was +1.
- Did Blake Wheeler read Gary Lawless' article today? The big man added a goal (from in front of a crease that wasn't on his pants!!!) and the assist on the GWG. Apparently Don Waddell (shudders....) was in the building to scout him for Team USA. For a change, he delivered.
- Good for Mark Scheifele for scoring the winner. I've been especially hard on him of late, or at least his GM for taking him over Sean Couturier, but the kid is playing better. He still falls down a lot, including on the same play 10 seconds before he scored the winner, but he's making more believers every day. Maybe even I'll get there soon.
- Radko Gudas is a bad motherf****r. I love that dude. He could play on my team any day.
- The Jets did what they needed to do, and that was pile up 8 out of 12 points during their trip through the "Leastern" Conference. But they're going to need to play so much better, and get some healthy bodies back, if they hope to beat teams in their own division. Playing for the tie won't fly in the West.