What's the opposite of front and centre? Back and off to the side? That is where the Winnipeg Jets sat in Canada's hockey landscape tonight. The Jets faced off against the San Jose Sharks while most of Canadian hockey fans watched World Junior action.
The final result was disheartening for the fans that decided to watch. Just as it looked like it was time to hunker down for over time, the Pickle Man blasted one past Michael Hutchinson at 19:55 of the third. Jets lose 3-2.
Well that sucked.
The Winnipeg Jets were forced to defend a double minor and a 5 on 3 within the first four minutes of the game. That is a recipe for disaster - thankfully the PK stepped up and held they Sharks to a single goal. Still not ideal, but better than it could have been.
The early penalties put the Jets in an early hole on the shot clock, but they weren't great at 5 on 5 either getting heavily out shot and out Corsi'd at even strength too.
They didn't get much better as the game progressed. The Jets played well in spurts, but they were tossed around for much of the night.
Brian Engblom spent much of the game talking about plus/minus and how Hutch has good numbers because he doesn't have the pressure of a label. He also made a point of praising Julien Brouillette repeatedly for one very Simple play. Brouillette wasn't horrible, but it wasn't exactly a shining showing. Not a big fan of Engblom.
Michael Hutchinson faced a lot of rubber tonight. He faced 37 shot in total. He stopped 34 of them for a .919 sv%. Still, I bet he'd like the last one back. That said, Hutch wasn't the problem tonight. He made some unreal saves. The Jets were flat out out-played.
Jay Harrison scored a goal tonight. Jay Harrison, more like Yay Harrison. Am I right?
Too many PIMs again. The Jets were assessed seven minor penalties tonight. Some were deserved, some were not - particularly the call against Ladd for a hit to the head. Regardless of whether or not they were deserved, they happened and that is bad.
Speaking of PIMs, TJ galiardi had himself a strong game on the penalty kill with a good chunk of zone clears. Hutch cleared one too. That was pretty cool.
The Jets only possession plus players were the the Mark Scheifele line, Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot. That ain't good.
The next four games are going to be brutal. The Jets will need to play better.