Instant Recap: Winnipeg Jets crash-land in Florida, lose 4-1 to Panthers

Joel Auerbach

The Winnipeg Jets were outworked and outplayed by a depleted Florida Panthers team that was without 9 (!) regulars in tonight's hilariously awful effort.

What a freakin' disaster that was.

In a game that most people assumed would result in an easy two points in the bank, the Winnipeg Jets instead put in an absolute garbage effort in this embarrassing loss to the Florida Panthers. That isn't to belittle the Panthers, but when a team is without 9 regulars, including their starting goalie, it is assumed that they should be the weaker team. Well, tonight they weren't, and the Jets should be ashamed. If they even care at all.

The game started poorly for the Jets, as they gave up the opening goal just 5:07 into the game. Tomas Kopecky took a feed from Marcel Goc and put a comically weak one by the leaky glove hand of Ondrej Pavelec (x1) to open the scoring. Sadly, that wasn't the last we'd hear from that glove hand. The period would end with the home team up 1-0, and they outshot the visitors 9-8.

The Jets actually started the second period well, as the unappreciated and undervalued Kyle Wellwood took a feed from Andrew Ladd and roofed one past Jacob Markstrom to tie the score at one just 1:42 in. Sadly, that was as good as it got for the rest of the evening.

Halfway through the second, Shawn Matthias turned Mark Stuart inside-out at the blueline and then deposited a wrister over Pavelec's glove hand (x2) to take the lead for good. And after Dustin Byfuglien and Grant Clitsome combined to give Jonathan Huberdeau a penalty shot, the rookie threw one over Pavelec's glove (x3) to put the home-team up 3-1. The home team out-shot the Jets 9-5 in the period and held an 18-13 lead in shots after two.

If you thought it was going to get any better in the third, you would have been wrong. Pavelec went swimming on his belly as Mike Santorelli waltzed right around the sprawling goalie and put the Panthers up 4-1 just 3:43 into the final period. If the Jets were at home, half of the MTS Centre would have 'beaten the traffic' at this point, as the Jets did nothing else for the rest of the game to end this shameful effort. Sure they out-shot the Panthers 18-8 in the period, but it was all in garbage time and few were good chances.

If efforts like this show who the real Winnipeg Jets are, then we'd better start planning a draft party soon.

Ten Thoughts:

  • The Jets have scored once in their last two games, and it was from the guy who just sat for four games in the press box. That's bad.
  • I really don't have anything good things to say about this game, but I am glad that Wellwood was able to pot one. He's hardly the biggest of our issues, but hopefully some production will keep him in the lineup.
  • Now, on to our bigger problems. Our goalie was awful. Again. The entire NHL has the book on Pavelec, and it's high glove. It's rather comical how obvious it is. His sparkling 0.846 save percentage on the evening emphasizes the point.
  • On the other side of the ice was a tremendous goalie, as Jakob Markstrom is going to be a beauty. With Jose Theodore out for a prolonged period of time, it looks like it's Markstrom's crease from now on out. The young goalie stopped 30 of 31, good enough for a 0.968 save percentage, and looked solid and poised. If only the Jets could be so lucky...
  • The Jets didn't allow a power-play goal on two attempts! Yay! Sadly, they didn't put enough effort in to draw a single penalty from the Panthers. That's pretty sad, actually.
  • James Wright led all Jets forwards with 18:16. That cannot happen if they are to win many games, but it was an obvious message as he was one of the few going. Blake Wheeler (16:50) and Olli Jokinen (16:45) were next in line.
  • The defense were rolled out pretty evenly, as Dustin Byfuglien led the team with 22:01 while Paul Postma brought up the rear with 16:09.
  • The announced attendance at tonight's game was 14,574. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at this obviously made-up number.
  • In what should have been a game that would help propel the Jets further into the playoff picture, they instead were the only team in the Southeast Division to not earn two points. Whoops.
  • The Jets head across the state of Florida to take on the Lightning on Thursday before returning right back to the scene of the crime here in Sunrise to take on the Panthers again on Friday. Better efforts will be needed, that's for sure.
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