The Winnipeg Jets finished off their preseason with a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, resulting in a 3-4 record during the audition phase prior to the 2014-15 regular season beginning next week.
Despite giving up the opening goal to David Jones on a softie, Ondrej Pavelec turned away the rest of the shots he faced and watched as Blake Wheeler, Jacob Trouba, Evander Kane and Bryan Little scored four unanswered to put the game out of reach.
The Jets will now have the next 4 days off to practice and whittle down their roster to the final 23 players (plus injuries) before opening the season in Glendale next Thursday. The next few days will be very interesting in The River City to see who makes the grade and who's sent packing.
- Wheeler looked right at home standing at the top of the crease right in front of Jonas Hiller. Wheels was inches in front of the Calgary netminder for both his and Trouba's goal, and with his frame and hands it looks like he should spend more time there.
- Sorry, but that first goal that Ondrej Pavelec allowed was just terrible. His tracking issue continue to rear its ugly head, but other than that he looked pretty good overall tonight.
- Mark Scheifele looks stronger on the puck so far this preseason, as he's clearly gotten bigger. Still, the #scheifeledown hashtag looks like it'll remain for at least a little while as I've seen him laying down on the ice a few times this preseason. Oh well - Scott Hartnell has done it for years and he's managed to be a pretty good player for a long time.
- Trouba looked MUCH better tonight. After a few lacklustre performances this preseason, he certainly looked better today, which should set a bunch of Jets fans at ease as the regular season opens next week. Loved seeing him and Grant Clitsome go after Backlund (more on that in Thought #7).
- Kane selfishly potted a goal and an assist tonight to tie Paul Postma as the leading point-getters on the night. In all seriousness, expect a big year out of him.
- Speaking of Postma, he made a very positive first appearance this preseason tonight, adding the primary helper on Wheeler's first goal and another helper on Little's empty-netter. After losing Zach Redmond, the team could use a reliable RH shot behind Trouba and Zach Bogosian.
- Tobias Enstrom looked good all game, and hopefully that dirty hit by Mikael Backlund doesn't leave the P.O.D. (Prince of Defense, for those who aren't familiar) injured. Remember, he played 82 games last year, so he's not as injury-prone as you think, but there's not much he could have done to avoid that hit. The Jets would be in tough to overcome an injury to Toby, regardless of the duration.
- The bottom-six looked pretty good tonight. Mathieu Perreault, T.J. Galiardi and Anthony Peluso all stood out, and Jim Slater won a boatload of face-offs. That's better than it has been, that's for sure.
- It looked like the most veteran lineup that the Jets had assembled in the preseason, as the kids (Nikolaj Ehlers, Nicolas Petan and Josh Morrissey) took in the game from the pressbox. Paul Maurice did say that they would like to evaluate them further, but I expect all three to be sent down to junior shortly.
- Did anybody miss Eric Tangradi tonight? I certainly didn't. Enjoy your $700k salary down on The Rock...