The Jets opened the scoring early in the first, and looked in complete control through 25 minutes of play. However, the Flames scored three goals in under 7 minutes in the second period, and never looked back, taking the game 4-1. For the Flames, it was the perfect end to a road trip which also saw them beat Chicago and Nashville; as for the Jets, they have now dropped 4 straight, and are 1-4-0 on the season.
(1) The Jets looked dominant in the first period, out-shooting the Flames 13-6, and generating 30 shot attempts. Perreault made a great play behind the net to Wheeler, who fed it cross crease to Scheifele for the game's first goal. The fourth line was buzzing, as Peluso hit a post, and Slater picked off an errant Raphael Diaz pass and nearly went high glove. The Jets led 1-0 after one, and it seemed like a win was imminent.
(2) But Ondrej Pavelec returned to mid-season form, as he struggled with his movement in the crease, and was unable to make the big save when it was needed. He slid too far to his left on the first goal, (granted he did have to fight through a screen), and flopped around like a fish on the second, a wrap-around from Johnny Gaudreau. And while the third goal came on a sudden two-on-one, there's no doubt that it was a back breaker. I don't know if anyone has the stats, but I'd be willing to wager that Pavelec gives up more goals on high shots (per goal allowed) than any other starting goalie in the NHL. To top things off, he left a brutal rebound right in the slot on the fourth goal.
(3) While the Flames are pretty thin up front, they have a surprisingly dynamic d-core, led by analytics poster boy Mark Giordano. However, on this night it was Kris Russell, T.J Brodie, and Dennis Wideman who sparked the Flames' attack. Russell looked smooth and shifty in the second, leading the rush into the offensize zone, including the one which led to the Flames' first goal - which was finished off nicely by Wideman. Meanwhile, Brodie scored the game clinching goal in the third, which put the Flames up 4-1. Brodie is drawing rave reviews early in the year, and is reportedly on the verge of signing a contract extension, rumoured to be in the neighbourhood of 5 years, and $4.5M per season.
(4) The Jets also got a bit of a spark offensively from their blueline, as Jacob Trouba and Paul Postma both made a few successful forays into the offensive zone when the game was still close. Offensively, the Jets need all the help they can get, because...
(5) The Jets have now scored just 2 goals in their past 4 games. Yes - they've played some good defensive teams, like LA, Nashville, and San Jose, but if this team has a strength, one would think it should be their offensive punch. It certainly isn't their defensive play, or their goaltending...
(6) Speaking of defence, the Jets' entire 5-man unit looked lost at times tonight, especially on the first and fourth goals against. If they get in the habit of watching the puck in their own zone, there are about 29 teams in the NHL that will make them pay on a nightly basis. (Ok, 28 - I don't think Buffalo is going to hurt anyone this year).
(7) On a positive note, Adam Lowry looks like he's starting to get accustomed to the pace of play in the NHL. He looked more confident carrying the puck, and generated a few decent scoring chances. Maybe the move back to centre-ice - his natural position - will pay dividends for Lowry and the Jets.
(8) Lance Bouma finished second among forwards in blocked shots last season, and word is he will be awarded the Medal of Bravery after blocking a handful of Dustin Byfuglien slap shots tonight. If Don Cherry had been on the air, we never would have heard the end of it.
(9) While he doesn't have blinding speed like Blake Wheeler or Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele may be the Jets' best one-on-one player. A slick puck handler who's very good at the curl-and-drag move coming off the right wing, he's also good at backing off defenders and using his quick release to turn simple plays into dangerous scoring chances. Scheifele is going to lead this team offensively one day, perhaps sooner than we think. Tonight, he and Bryan Little were the only consistent threats up front.
(10) At what point do we stop lauding Blake Wheeler for his aggressive play? He took two penalties in the third period out of sheer frustration, and while it's good to know that he despises losing, there has to be a better way to channel those emotions. If I'm Paul Maurice, I use the loss as justification for the hard work that needs to happen in practice tomorrow, and next week, and all season long. I doubt there's any help coming via the trade route, so this team either improves internally, or it suffers a long and disappointing season.
The Jets' next game is Tuesday, Oct. 21 against Carolina. What did you think of tonight's game? Share your thoughts below.