Winnipeg Jets walked into the city of country music an angry team. After dropping 4 out of 6 games on their longest home stand of the year, the Jets looked to rebound in music city against new division rival the Nashville Predators. The Preds entered the night in 4th place in the Central Division, just 1 point ahead of the struggling Jets.
Craig Smith would bury the winner off a clearing attempt by Evander Kane that bounced off the stick of Dustin Byfuglien on a long shot from outside the top of the circles.
Nashville opened the scoring on Shea Weber's 3rd of the season on the powerplay 15:53 into the first to open a 1-0 lead late in the first.
The Jets would manage to answer late in the 2nd period after a nice give and go between much maligned Olli Jokinen and Anthony Peluso, which would lead to a wrap around goal by Peluso that was originally called off before replay confirmed that the puck crossed the line. It was Peluso showing some nice skating and acceleration that would bury it, something not expected from the grinding forward.
Predators RW Patric Hornqvist would answer the Jets goal from long distance early in the 3rd with a goal off of a huge rebound let out by Pavelec from a long shot from Mike Fisher. Blake Wheeler driving the puck wide late in the 3rd would feed Zach Bogosian for a shot from the point, although originally blocked would eventually get through and create a nicely placed rebound for Wheeler to pounce on to even the score and send it to OT. This ensure the Jets single point, despite Smith's winner in OT.
1) Ondrej Pavelec looked solid tonight. Although the Jets outshot the Predators 36-33, Pavelec came up big at times making some nice saves, which were not even caused by bad positioning.
2) Anthony Peluso continues to show improvement in his game. I have been a notorious downer on Peluso, but he is showing show real hockey game in the last two. Looking like he might be a real NHL player with some solid play.
3) Dustin Byfuglien continues to looks good at both ends of the rink. Making nice plays in both ends, he continues to earn his keep as the #1 D-man on the Jets roster.
4) Eric Tangradi looked rejuvenated after his stint in the press box. Despite not looking bad before that, he still looked better in this game making offensive chances and being all around the net.
5) Mark Stuart looked like good ole Stuey tonight, making poor passes in the D-zone, not making good reads, not moving the puck out of the defensive zone. He has topped out as a depth player, not worthy of an everyday spot on the roster.
6) The top two lines were once again MIA this game. Providing zero offense with very little even offensive zone time, where is the top 5 line of Ladd-Little-Wheeler that we saw last year. Oh yeah, Noel broke them up.
7) Setoguchi where art thou? I was notoriously down on the Seto acquisition due to streakiness and laziness, and I am not surprised but completely understanding how he has been ice cold to start this year. When he scores he is on, when he does not he is nowhere to be seen. That is what we are seeing. Will pick it up, but we need it now.
8) Tobias Enstrom is status quo. He is quiet and effective, completely underrated making nice plays with the puck and without.
9) Mark Scheifele continues to get better. The points are not forthcoming so far, but he is making better decisions each and every game. His positioning is getting better, the hockey awareness is there as always. Like the development.
10) Dump and chase DOES NOT WORK FOR WINNIPEG!!!! The Nashville Predators work well in that system, the Jets as they are currently built do not work on this system. We need to use our quick counter attack and attack off the rush, why in the hell does Noel not recognize this. What the hell.
We are 2-5-2 in the last nine games. That will even out somewhat, but it is not nearly enough. This team NEEDS playoffs this year if we expect to be a Stanley Cup contender with this current core. Right now this core looks rotten. One OT goal does not make this end, but the recent results are not promising. This team needs to turn it around and now. Or the hope lies more in Ekblad, Reinhart or McDavid than Ladd, Bogosian and Kane.