Down by 2 goals only a few minutes into the first period, the Jets' parade to the penalty box was the story of the tonight, as the Coyotes scored 3 goals with the man advantage, en route to a 4-1 win.
(1) How did Ondrej Pavelec play tonight? Quite well for a goaltender who gave up 4 goals. Employing Steve Valiquette's model of green and red goals - green being situations where the goaltender has less than half a second to react, red being more than half a second - the Coyotes were throwing some quality chances at Pavelec.
How many Coyote goals were on green shots? All of them. Pavelec had no chance on the Boedker or Ekman-Larsson power-play goals in the first - the first, a net-front scramble, the latter, a pass through the crease to the back door. Meaniwhile, the third goal was a rebound in a congested crease area. Perhaps the fourth goal is up for debate - yes, Pavelec could have probably poke-checked, but if I'm in net, I'm expecting my defender (Harrison), to prevent Boedker from cutting (easily) to the net. Unfortunately, Boedker is one of the fastest players in the NHL, so it makes the proposition a little tougher.
(2) After the first period, the shots were 13-11 Coyotes, while attempts were 22-21, also for the Coyotes. The difference was the powerplay, where the Jets were 0/2, and the Coyotes, 2/2. Simply put, most NHL teams will close out a 2-0 lead at home when facing a mediocre offensive opponent. With 103 goals scored coming into tonight, the Jets were tied for the 3rd fewest goals in the Western Conference.
(3) What did you think of Jim Slater's penalty near the end of the second? In my opinion, he misread the situation a bit. I mean, that elbow/trip is always a penalty, and always a stupid one, but down 2-0, in the offensive zone, and already down a man, you need to get your head checked when you do something like that. Of course, the Coyotes scored to go up 3-0, more or less clinching the game.
(4) The Jets - eager to be league leader in something - continue to be the the most prominent purveyor of minor penalties. They took five more tonight, which is a lot given that they trailed very early in the game, and score effects give the team that's trailing quite an impetus to get on the offensive. Props to Mike Smith for getting things rolling for the Coyotes - he really sold that first call on Brian Little - an accidental trip in the crease.
(5) While the Coyotes - who sit 2nd last in the Western Conference - haven't done much well this season, they do have the 7th best powerplay in the NHL. And wouldn't you know it, they get two to start the game. They had the NHL's top road penalty kill in the league at their mercy all night, going 3 for 5.
(6) Missed Opportunities
- At 2-0 in the first, Michael Frolik put a great chance just over the net off a nice pass from Scheifele, (who got an even better, cheeky pass from - you probably guessed it - Mathieu Perreault).
- Still at 2-0, with 2:37 left in the first, another Jets goal was waived off because Blake Wheeler was in the crease. It felt like that one may have turned the momentum.
- Matt Halischuk made a nice drive through the middle early in the third, got a mediocre chance on net, which turned into a great rebound opportunity for Adam Lowry, who put a rolling puck wide left. That would have made the game 3-2.
(7) Great pass by Ladd in the slot for the Jets' first and only goal of the game. While Ladd's accurate shot and general finishing ability tend to get most of the attention, if you watch him closely, you'll notice that he's very good at making short, simple passes, especially around the net. Apart from his penchant for offensize zone penalties, his game has really grown on me over the past few years.
(8) In a game where you're down by 2 right off the hop, the fact that the Jets only have 2 reliable scoring lines becomes an even more significant handicap. Based on their NHL resumes to date, the line of Galiardi-Lowry-Halischuk is roughly an average 4th line, while the actual 4th line might be bordering on being of AHL quality. They certainly aren't driving the offence when they're on the ice, and I'd be surprised if the line of Thorburn-Slater-Peluso was effective at controlling play.
(9) In his first game back, Zach Bogosian looked decent in 18:56 of play, including 16 at even strength. Meanwhile Dustin Byfuglien played almost 9 minutes more than the next higher Jet - 29:51, to Jay Harrison's 21:13. It's hard to imagine how the Jets' blueline would have looked in recent weeks without the option of sliding 33 back on defence. Would it have made a 4-point difference? 6 points?
(10) What's the spin on this game - the Jets weren't ready to play? Arizona came out hard after being embarrassed in a 6-0 loss to St. Louis? My guess is the narrative will be that the sky is falling, because now the Jets head into California, and may come out of this 3-game trip with 0 points. What's my take? I think a few, slightly unlucky penalties, and a good opposition powerplay sunk the Jets tonight, and they couldn't dig out of the hole despite some good chances. Let's take things one game at a time - maybe the Jets surprise us this weekend.
What did you think of tonight's game? Share your thoughts below.