I give up. I have no answers. And neither does the coaching staff or the players, apparently.
Only one week ago the Winnipeg Jets looked poised to run away with the Southeast Division and host some playoff hockey. After tonight, they're trending towards a lottery pick and look like they're trying to get their coach fired or get traded out of town. What happened in the past few days? No seriously, tell me? Because I'd like to have an answer for Claude Noel when he asks the media what he should do tonight in his post-game presser.
The Jets lost back-to-back home games to a Washington Capitals team that was well below them in the standings by a combined score of 10-1. They were thoroughly shit-kicked by Alex Ovechkin and company in such a way that you can only laugh about it. To keep from crying, of course. Braden Holtby nearly pulled off the rare feat and went perfect in all three games in the visitors net, as only Dustin Byfuglien's garbage time goal midway through the 3rd ended his streak of 8 1/2 periods of shutout hockey. That's pretty good, unless you're a fan of the home-team.
The first period was hideous, if only because we were subjected to three "power-plays" by the home-team which were hilariously inept. The best chances were all short-handed attempts by the Caps, and if it weren't for Ondrej Pavelec there would have been at least one shorty. But at even-strength it was the Mike Riberio show, as his two perfect passes to Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer gave the Caps a 2-0 lead after one. The first goal was thanks to a Dustin Byfuglien turnover in the corner, and the second was a terrible pinch by Ron Hainsey that caused a 2-on-1. Tobias Enstrom cannot return fast enough.
The second period? Wash, rinse and repeat. Jay Beagle scored 5:37 into the frame to chase Pavelec from the net, but Al Montoya didn't fair much better as Ovechkin rifled the first shot he saw right by him to make it 4-0 less than 2 minutes later. The rout was on, and so were the sour moods. The fans turned on the Jets big time at this point, as the only sounds that were being made were the boos that were heard loud and clear on HNIC. Ouch.
The third didn't get much better as Mike Green scored the 5th Washington goal early in the frame to end any hope of a comeback. Sure, Buff managed to score one in garbage time on a soft goal that broke the shutout, but that was the only good thing that happened all night and it was a lucky one to boot. Ovechkin would bury his second of the night on a power-play later on to make it 6-1 which sent the fans for the exits and to the bars for a stiff drink. To make things even worse, Derek Meech pushed Jay Beagle into the crease and Al Montoya took a dangerous knock to his head, which looked eerily similar to the play that resulted in his concussion last season.
All I can say is that the Jets had better not ice the same lineup on Sunday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Changes need to be made, maybe just for the sake of making a change, as it appears that something is rotten in that dressing room.
- The Honeymoon is officially over. I've never seen such a surly crowd, but it was fully deserved. Fans are paying a lot of money for these tickets, and these "efforts" just aren't cutting it.
- Chris Thorburn was promoted to the 3rd line while Alex Burmistrov remained on the 4th. Olli Jokinen remained on the point of the power-play. And Ondrej Pavelec was started in his 9th straight game only to be pulled early in the second. Those are poor coaching decisions and that's on the coaching staff. Since Claude Noel obviously has no answer, I'm hopeful Kevin Cheveldayoff will help him out.
- I'm not going to shred Ondrej Pavelec tonight, as he was hung out to dry. But the stats still say a lot: 3 goals on 9 shots. 0.667 save percentage. Yikes. It's almost like he has a history of struggling with a heavy workload and the second-half of back-to-backs...
- The Jets were lucky to hang on in Toronto, were dominated in Ottawa, were lucky to get a point let alone two against Boston and then this debacle against the Caps (x2). That is 4 points out of 10, and it would have been less had they not got those two quick ones against the Bruins. This has not been a good week.
- This team, as currently constructed, is just not very good. They have nobody to play with Evander Kane, they have a bunch of 3rd-pairing defenders, and have constructed their lineup with the scraps of other teams via waivers or 7th-round picks (Grant Clitsome, James Wright, Antti Miettinen and Eric Tangradi).
- Sure, the Jets out-shot the Caps 31-24. So what? The game was over half-way through the game, and Washington had no reason to press. And they still managed to outscore Winnipeg 2-1 in the third. Braden Holtby had to what, make 3 or 4 tough saves in the last two nights?
- Evander Kane led all Jets skaters with 23:37 of ice-time. That says a lot when a forward sees more time on the ice than any defenders. Buff was next at 23:31, while Zach Bogosian was the only other player to play more than 20 minutes (21:43). I guess it's easy to roll the lines when you're getting your asses kicked.
- Chris Thorburn finished -2 and took a penalty in 8:03 of ice-time. I'm shocked his promotion to the 3rd line didn't produce anything.
- If the Capitals decide to move Mike Riberio at the deadline, he won't come cheap. He's had a great year in Washington and would look fantastic on a contending team's 2nd line. It'll be interesting to see what the Caps do.
- How good was Ovechkin the past few nights? Sure, the Jets were worse than awful, but good players take advantage and AO did just that. It was very nice of Winnipeg to give him some confidence...
- **BONUS** The Jets probably wish they didn't have another home game up next, but they do. If they can't figure out what to do on Sunday...........