It is back! Effort is back. Effort? Effort! Lots of talk about effort. The Jets have dropped a couple games and some would have you believe it is because they've stopped trying hard as if things ever were that simple. The Jets have hit their first real rough patch, under new head coach Paul Maurice... Well, they've hit their first run of losses anyways.
Fact of the matter is their play was up and down through their hot streak as well. The difference? They won the up and down games early. Now, results are falling in line with play. Really, no big change. Meanwhile the Avalanche come into town rolling with 5 wins in their last seven games. Their speed and skill game has them firmly in a playoff spot and their goaltending continues to provide a large margin for error.
Keys to the Game
Goalies, again. Ondrej Pavelec has amassed a .901 save percentage in his last 10 games played. He has posted sub .900 numbers 6 times in those 10 games. The fact that the numbers are that low despite Pavelec outright stealing a game versus Nashville should tell you something about the highs and lows. Regardless of who goes in net, the Jets will need a nice save percentage number if they want to win this game.
Kane't hit the back of the net. Evander has been surging post Olympic break and he has put forth some nice efforts, but he hasn't found twine. With Scheifele down, Evander Kane has to step up. A goal or two would be nice. Please.
Stop it Stu! In his first two games after signing a nice big contract extension, Mark Stuart has had a couple stinky outings. I get that they want him to mentor Jacob Trouba, but you can teach him how to breakup a 2 on 1 without making him face two or three a game. Jets need all hands on deck.
Speeding is legal. Use speed. Draw PIMs. The Avalanche powerplay averages a goal once every 5 attempts. The Jets lead the league with 126 times shorthanded. The Avs will have their chances and as always - if you win on special teams, you will have a good chance of winning the game.
So much goal. That Avalanche are one of 5 NHL teams that average more that three goals scored per game. They already have four 20 goal scorers and their captain Gabriel Landeskog is close with 19. If the Avs can keep multiple lines rolling, odds are the Jets will struggle to match.
So much goalie. Semyon Varlamov is a very good goalie and Jean-Sebastien Giguere continues to stop pucks at a workable level. The Avalanche allow the 6th most shots in the league, but their duo of netminders have sustained the NHL's third highest team save percentage as a result. More of this will mean more wins.
Player to Boo Mercilessly
Anybody but Paul Stastny - Paul is a pending UFA and he might, maybe, perhaps (probably not) make it to the market. Just in case he does, let's be sure we don't hurt his feelings.