The Jets lost a close one today at the MTS Centre as the Ducks potted two powerplay goals and rode strong goaltending from Frederick Andersen to beat the Jets 4-3 in OT. The Jets outplayed and outchanged the Ducks through much of the afternoon, but were mostly unable to capitalize on their chances.
(1) OT Finish
It was a sudden and disappointing end to the game - Kyle Palmieri sniped just 53 seconds into overtime to end it. Pavelec was strong most of the game, making a few big saves on Cogliano, and none of the first three goals were his fault. But the Palmieri shot could have been stopped. Yes, it was an impressive shot, to pick the corner from that angle, but if Pavelec is standing right up against his post, he probably doesn't get beat on a shot from the goal line. I wonder if Hutchinson or Hellebuyck would have stopped that shot.
(2) The Ducks' Powerplay
The Ducks' first PP of the game was telling. They were able do exactly what the Jets PP typically has trouble doing - getting the puck to the inside. The main reason they can do it so well is Ryan Getzlaf. Standing on the left half-wall, he sends the puck down low to Maroon, who quickly sets up Bourque in the slot, who then slides it in past Pavelec. But the play all starts with Getzlaf - a big, right-hand shot who has so many options from the left side of the ice - does he pass it down-low, kick it back to the point, or try a slap-pass through the slot? Does he go cross-ice (as he did later on to Kesler), or simply walk-in and shoot? Whether it's the left side or the right, the Jets lack a forward who can set up on their off-wing and help run traffic on the PP. Not only would this add another weapon to their arsenal, but it would also make Byfuglien's point shot far more effective, as teams key on him a lot right now because the next-best option just isn't very threatening.
(3) The Jets' Top Line
Ladd, Little, and Wheeler are really bringing it of late. After a big game on Friday, where Bryan Little potted the first hat trick in Jets 2.0 history, Andrew Ladd had another goal and an assist, while Blake Wheeler picked up a helper. Furthermore, they dominated possession at even-strength, with Corsi of +7. Now if only the Jets could find some secondary scoring.
(4) Plenty of Missed Chances for the Jets
The Jets were generating all kinds of great scoring chances today. Here are 10 grade-A chances the Jets missed today, displayed in chronological order:
- Mathieu Perreault had two fantastic chances early in the first period, but wasn't able to bury against his former team, who let him go just 5 months ago.
- Paul Postma made a great seem pass to Frolik late in the first, but Frolik hit the post.
- Matt Halischuk and Adam Lowry each had fortuitous chances in the 2nd, but weren't able to beat Andersen. Halischuk got a dribbling puck in the slot and was stopped on a high shot, while Lowry tried to drag the puck around Andersen's pad, but at 6'4, the goaltender quickly slid to his right.
- Lowry just missed Halischuk with a pass out front, where Halischuk would have been in point blank.
- Dustin Byfuglien had a great chance early in the third, which he started with a nice defensive play right after the Ducks' PP ended. He came in alone off a nice pass by Ladd, but was stopped.
- Ladd had a great chance in the slot on the pp, about halfway through the third.
- Blake Wheeler had a tap-in in the third, if only he had collected Trouba's pass through the slot.
- With 6 minutes to go, Mathieu Perreault made a great outside-in move and came right in on Andersen, but to no avail.
(5) The turning point that wasn't
Ducks were on a 5-on-3 pp in the second, when Matt Beleskey scored to put the Ducks up 3-2. However, the ref calls interference on Beleskey and call off the goal. It was a terrible call - Beleskey didn't even touch Pavelec - but it certainly turned out well for the Jets...or at least, that's how it looked at the time. Ryan Kesler scored only 40 seconds later, off a set-up from, guess who - Ryan Getzlaf.
(6) Stuart's Phaneuf-ish Tendencies
Mark Stuart plays defense very aggressively. I appreciate the fact that he doesn't want to give up the blueline off the rush, and that he likes to finish his checks, but he has a tendency to over-commit to a play, where the risk far outweighs the potential return. For instance, "Mark Stuart made a big hit in the neutral zone" - that's a quote from Shane Hnidy today. The problem is that the play was already in his zone by the time Stuart noticed. The team didn't get burned in this case, but it's only a matter of time before they do. The most concerning thing is that Stuart is now in his 8th full season in the NHL, so you'd think he'd know better by now.
(7) Andrew Cogliano - Speed Kills
Andrew Cogliano was dangerous for Anaheim, using his speed to create chances, often streaking down the right-hand side. He had two chances up the middle of the ice, including one seconds after the Jets tied things up, but he was foiled by Pavelec. Cogliano has always been a speed demon, and has settled into a role as a valuable 3rd line winger and penalty killer. He's having a tough time finishing of late - coming into today, his shooting percentage has been Jets-like at 6% (3 goals on 50 shots.)
(8) Kane Unpopular with Ducks
Is it just me, or did the Ducks not like Evander Kane today? Beleskey wanted to drop the gloves with him in the second after he took out Palmieri on a somewhat late hit. Then, Kane took a major penalty when he pasted Stoner from behind. Stoner dropped his gloves and came up swinging. There was lots of chirping throughout the game too, and it makes me wonder if there's some history there. There was a road game last season in Anaheim - the one where the Jets' dads came along - and the Jets were able to pull out a tight win in a game they probably should have lost. Kane scored a nice short-handed goal, and I seem to recall there was some taunting that followed. So maybe that played a role too.
(9) A Change of Position?
I'm convinced that Evander Kane should try playing right wing. Big, fast, and left-handed, there are more opportunities for him to create chances if he's coming down the right side; if he drives wide and muscles the d-man to the net, he can pull it to his forehand, and can deke across the crease on his forehand, or shoot. Or, he can start out wide and cut to the middle once he hits the top of the circle, and fire a shot off his forehand - something he definitely can't do from the left side. He had a decent rush down the right side at one point in the second, and I'd like to see him try that more often. Blake Wheeler has been doing the same thing down the left-side for years, and with great success.
(10) Trouba has been Sublime
A friend of mine saw Jacob Trouba at a night club on Friday after the game. He asked Trouba if the team was worried about the injuries to Enstrom and Bogo, to which Trouba calmly replied "it's nothing I can't handle". No kidding. With few exceptions, Trouba looks in complete control out there. His size and skating are second-to-none, and his ability to jump into the play adds another dimension to the Jets' attack. His lateral movement is incredible - he actually seems to pick up speed as cuts into the ice when he drives wide. He scored the tying goal with about 4 minutes left in the game, and looked really jacked up about it. If this is how he plays at age 20, I can't imagine what he'll be like at 25, although I'm imagining that he'll be wearing the "C" at some point. Whenever he's able to ditch his anchor - errr, D-partner, I expect him to control play at an even high rate, even against top-flight competition. He led all skaters today with a +13 corsi.
The Jets next play Tuesday night in Dallas. What did you think of today's game? Feel free to share your thoughts below.