It's taken me far too long to come to this realization, but the Winnipeg Jets are the NHL's version of the Dave Matthews Band.
A tad quirky and at times off-putting, the Jets bring their familiar brand of alt-rock hockey that often leaves you feeling so unsatisfied as a fan.
Their entire 2013-14 season has been a macrocosm of the senseless progression featured in The Space Between; a song with poorly structured, choppy verses that are broken by the slow, melodic and quite frankly enjoyable chorus.
These are your Winnipeg Jets.
We can talk about The Space Between on a much more literal level when discussing this roster as well. Like The Space Between winning streaks being far too unabridged for any team wishing to call itself a playoff contender.
Or The Space Between the start of an early season implosion and the firing of Claude Noel being insurmountable down the stretch.
Or The Space Between Winnipeg's top six talent and its fringe players proving a disparaging lack of depth when injuries arose.
Yes, this year has been a whole lot of Dave Matthews, but without the inclusion of soft saxophone riffs to soothe our jangled nerves.
Not to mention that on multiple occasions the fan base has inquired Where Are You Going? when discussing the organization of this franchise while apologists have followed management decisions with full hearts, much like Ants Marching.
Tonight the Jets paid a visit to the SAP Center, a venue Dave Matthews is set to play later this year. But it was the San Jose Sharks that owned the stage, but were unable to deliver in the clutch, falling to the Jets by a 4-3 final.
Dan Boyle opened the scoring early in the first period as he broke toward the net taking a wonderful pass from James Sheppard. He deftly redirected the puck past an unsuspecting Al Montoya giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
Merely seconds later, the Jets would respond as Andrew Ladd evened the score on a follow up chance which he roofed over a sprawling Antti Niemi. San Jose would regain the lead before the end of the frame off a power play marker from Brent Burns.
The second stanza started similarly to the first as Blake Wheeler was able to squeak a soft goal through the pads of Antti Niemi only two minutes in. Dustin Byfuglien added a power play goal midway through the frame giving Winnipeg their first lead at 3-2. It would be short-lived as Logan Couture had a shot carom off his arm and into the Jets' net on yet another power play, knotting things at 3-3.
The score remained deadlocked late into the third period when the Sharks found themselves in penalty trouble. It was on the power play that Tobias Enstrom wired a shot through traffic, beating Niemi for the game winner.
Winnipeg will continue their Californian stretch Saturday night when they visit Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
- It's really tough to get into a 9:30PM CST game between a team that's destined for a top playoff spot and another ready to polish their golf clubs. Such is the case for Jets' fans right now as their team concludes it's 2013-14 western road swing. At least tonight's game was tightly contested, though that means very little at this point.
- Andrew Ladd scored in first game after the birth of his daughter, which is pretty cool. He has now scored eight goals in his last twelve games which has vaulted him over the twenty goal plateau for the third time in four seasons.
- Blake Wheeler's looked like he was in a world of hurt Monday after he was checked into the open bench door in Dallas. Thankfully he appears no worse for the wear as he scored once and later added two assists.
- All I want for my birthday is a big booty ho. Okay, maybe that was 2Chainz. For Dustin Byfuglien's birthday he'll just take power play goals, thanks.
- Though both teams committed a boatload of penalties tonight continued to reinforce the fact that the Jets enjoy living in the penalty box. The were short-handed four times tonight, allowing goals on two of those opportunities. Winnipeg ranks fifth in the NHL for minor penalties taken so hopefully this is an area they can clean up next season.
- Speaking of points, Dan Boyle scored tonight and ranks third among active defensemen with 555 career points behind Sergei Gonchar (796) and Kimmo Timonen (564). Mighty impressive.
- Joe Thornton continues to be an absolute assist machine assist machine trailing only Sidney Crosby in this category this season. Though he was held pointless tonight, he still posed a threat on multiple occasions. I really wish the Jets had a player of his caliber.
- Both goalies were seemingly off their game tonight, posting sub 900 save percentages. Fortunately for Winnipeg, Montoya was marginally better.
- On the topic of goaltenders, I'm really hopeful we get to see Michael Hutchinson Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings but I won't hold my breath.
- Shoutout to Wisconsin alum Joe Pavelski who's Badgers' mens basketball team punched their ticket to the Elite 8 against Baylor tonight.