Ondrej Pavelec's return to the net did not go exactly as he had envisioned. After allowing 3 goals on 16 shots in the opening 20 minutes Pavelec was pulled in favour of Al Montoya. Not the statement he wanted to make upon his return after watching the Jets falter under Montoya over the past two weeks (going 3-4-1).
Despite being down 3-0 after that opening period the Jets battled back in the 3rd. Matt Halischuk buried an Evander Kane pass to make it 3-1 early in the period. Tyler Toffoli scored on a 2 v 1 to reclaim the 3 goal lead shortly after for the Kings. Blake Wheeler beat Slava Voynov clean down the outside on a powerplay just a couple of minutes later and buried the puck upstairs past Jonathan Quick. 4-2 is as close as the Jets would get. Jonathan Quick would make an unbelievable foot save on Blake Wheeler in the dying seconds of the game, however unlikely that would have been to make a difference.
Perhaps the most disconcerting part of this loss was how easily the Kings dispatched the scrappy Jets. The Jets tried to stick with the Kings but they were simply too strong. When you consider that these teams both started their current rebuilds at the same time back in 2007-08. At that time the then Thrashers were 5 points better than the Kings. Both had empty cupboards, both needed to rebuild. Also in the bottom 4 that year was the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning. 3 of those teams are playoff bound this year and have had playoff appearances in the years since. Meanwhile the Jets continue to flounder in obscurity. At what point does real change need to be made?
1) Jets goaltending needs an overhaul. At least a couple of the Kings goals had absolutely no business going in the net. Neither Pavelec nor Montoya are any kind of answer for an NHL team between the pipes.
2) At one point Jacob Trouba looked like he might be the Jets MVP. However as is with many rookies (particularly college rookies) the strain of the season seems to be wearing on him. Particularly with the lack of depth on the Jets blueline, it's just too much for the 19 year old. This will not effect his long term potential however.
3) Tobias Enstrom is not well suited to playing a team like Los Angeles. Kopitar's second goal was a prime example of that. However he is basically the only quality defender left to the Jets right now, they will need him going forward.
4) Glad to see Paul Postma finally getting some time. His skating and offensive talents can be useful going forward. Him out there in the final minute shows Maurice's growing trust in him.
5) I long for the days when the Jets can jettison such useless weight like Adam Pardy and Anthony Peluso. Those guys add nothing, it's really too bad the team is so very razor thin.
6) Eric O'Dell continues to prove he belongs at the NHL level. His line with Evander Kane and Matt Halischuk was the top forward line for Jets tonight. O'Dell continues to play well in both ends. His strong offensive positioning once again led to a turnover that ended in Halischuk's goal.
7) Blake Wheeler might be the most underrated winger in the game today. His speed and skill is great, too bad there's nothing behind him on the depth chart.
8) Did the Jets even dress a 4th line? While Kings 4th liners like Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford were buzzing the puck and forechecking hard the only noticable thing from the Jets 4th line was Peluso's contining turnovers.
9) Gotta feel for quality veterans like Andrew Ladd, Tobias Enstrom, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little who are quality character players stuck on a team seemingly allergic to helping them.
10) When is the draft again?