Up 4-2 after two periods of play, and fairly in control, you would have thought the Jets were safe against most tems heading into the third. But the Jets weren't able to weather the storm, as the Ducks sent everything but the kitchen sink at Pavelec in the third. In the end, they fell 5-4 in a shootout, on a winner by defenceman Sami Vatanen.
Thoughts on the Game
(1) If you only watched Richard Rakell play against the Jets, you'd assume he was one of the best young forwards in the NHL. However, the 21-year-old Swede came into the game with just 1 goal in 31 games. Not only did he score two goals tonight, including the tying goal with only a few minutes left, but he also scored a sweet goal to keep his team alive in the shootout. And his only other goal on the season? Also against the Jets. Go figure.
(2) The M3 line of Mathieu, Mark, and Michael had a nice game tonight. (Side note: If Michael Frolik leaves via free agency, I'd love to add a Luke or a John to form the biblical line). They scored two goals at even strength, with Mark Scheifele leading the way offensively (1G, 1A), and the others each adding an assist. Mathieu Perreault continued his torrid point production - since starting the season with just 3 points in 19 games, he now has 21 points in his past 23 outings. And for Perreault, it's not just the offence, he also does the little things very well - smart passes, strong board play, good on faceoffs, and a good defensive play, including a great play in overtime, stopping Ryan Getzlaf in the slot. On that count, you could say the same for Michael Frolik, as he prevented Ryan Kesler from tying the game late in the third with a great back-check. (Rakell tied it shortly after).
(3) Jim Slater needs to smarten up. For a guy who only averages 8:27 of ice per game, you'd think there wouldn't be enough time for him to find his way to the box. And yet he has taken minor penalties in three straight games - an offensize zone penalty (elbow) while on the pk against Phoenix; a delay of game, (puck over the glass) against LA (wasn't under pressure), and tonight, an offensize zone interference call, trying to create space for a teammate. It needs to stop.
(4) Dustin Byfuglien continues to dominate physically - he crushes Beauchemin at the end of the second period, then Corey Perry with about a minute left in the third. Both were perfectly clean, check your pulse type of hits. Not only is it fun to watch as a fan, but he drew two minor penalties in the process. He also earned a well deserved all-star nomination this weekend. Think we'll ever see him back on forward?
(5) It was a sloppy game out there tonight - there were defencemen falling to create odd-man rushes (Hampus Lindholm most notably), giveaways in the defensive zone, including in OT (Bogosian), and several great chances around the net due to poor defensize zone coverage. Some alluded to the pre-game ceremonies being a factor - Ryan Getzlaf spoke about how the pre-game routine would be affected by the celebration of Teemu. Regardless of the cause, it was fun to watch, unless of course you were standing behind the bench.
(6) In terms of stats, the Ducks controlled play slightly in this game (45 to 37), scoring chances were basically even at 14-13 (Ducks). It's hard to say if the Jets were really good in the first two periods, or if the Ducks were simply that porous, but we certainly outplayed and out-chanced them for two-thirds of the game. Naturally given the score, the Jets got pummeled in the third - scoring chances were 5-2, shots were 12-4, and corsi was 16-8.
(7) The Jets got some offensize contributions from the infirmary tonight. In his second game back, Evander Kane kicked off the scoring, driving the net and collecting a rebound, which I'm sure was directed purposefully by Adam Lowry. After Anaheim replied, Zach Bogosian scored the second goal, sneaking in from the point and burying from the slot. With scoring depth a big question mark up front (the Jets have roughly 2.5 lines?), the team will need bigger contributions from Kane, and from the back-end as well.
(8) The Jets record now sits at 15-6-5 when scoring the first goal; on the flip side, the Ducks are 8-10-1 when not scoring first, good for 10th in the league. The Jets fall to 3-4 in the shootout, while the Ducks improve to 6-4. Not surprising given the stats - the Ducks have scored on 15/33 of their attempts (45%), while the Jets are just 7/28, 25%.
(9) In terms of points, the Jets sit 4th in the Central Division, and 5th in the Western Conference, with 50 points through 43 games. In the past three (full) seasons, the 8th Western qualifier has had 91, 95, and 97 points respectively; assuming that roughly 94 points are needed to make the playoffs, the Jets would need a record of roughly 19-14-6 the rest of the way. Of course, there are four Pacific Division foes close on their heels - Vancouver, San Jose, and Los Angeles, and Calgary are all within three points - San Jose in Calgary are even in games played, while LA has one in hand, and Vancouver has three.
(10) It's great to see Teemu Selanne getting the send-off he deserves. He's almost like a modern day Jean Beliveau - a great player on the ice, and yet all anyone can talk about now is what a great guy he is. (I'm wishing I lived in River Heights as a kid - he would have been my first pick in street hockey every time!) For a player who scored 684 goals, that's saying a lot.
What are your thoughts on tonight's game?