The Winnipeg Jets went into Anaheim looking for at least a split and they did not manage to achieve this goal. Although they put fourth a better effort than in game one, Adam Pardy's first goal in over four years was not enough for the Jets to pull out the win. The Jets are now staring down a tough hill, but not an impossible one. With the way the NHL has been lately, parity reigns supreme and series comebacks are more likely, but the Jets have to play much better over the course of a whole game.
Like in game one, the Jets looked completely overwhelmed at the start. Instead of doing what had worked for them in the regular season, the Jets seemed married to the idea that the way to win in the playoffs is to hit everything that moves, even if that thing does not have the puck. What ensued was poor possession play and domination on the part of the Anaheim Ducks. While the Jets began to correct this in the second period, they reverted to previous playoff form in the third and the result was predictable: two late goals for the Ducks and the Jets now facing a 0-2 series deficit.
The series now comes back to Winnipeg for game three on Monday night. The Jets have to go back to what has made them successful in the regular season if they want to have a chance to come back and win the series. They have shown that they are a good enough team to do something, but they have to do what makes them a good team and not what the media thinks makes them a good them. They should not be defined by their hitting. Instead, their zone exits and entrances usually include with skating with the puck or passing it out to a forward moving teammate. Too often in the playoffs the Jets have resorted to dumping the puck in and out of the zone, which enables the Ducks to counter-attack with ease. By simply going back to the regular season system, the Jets should be able to slow down the Ducks offence a bit.
1. The Winnipeg Jets got through the regular season by bearing down physically, but also focussed on having the puck and carrying it into the offensive zone and out of the defensive zone. They are doing none of these things right now and it shows.
2. Is it time to question the health of Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd? Both players have skated in very few team practices and morning skates for most of the season. Although the odd maintenance day is normal, this should be a concern when the Jets top players seem to never be fully healthy in the regular season. How can the Jets win when the top guys are not starting the playoffs near healthy.
3. The Jets are so discombobulated that their power play looks like a penalty kill. There is no possession game on the power play and much like at even-strength, the Jets are chasing and doing nothing but hit players, even if the hit is unnecessary.
4. Sportsnet is obsessed with face-offs and while they are important in key situations, those situations are few and far between. The gap in face-off wins does not explain the Jets struggles with possession so far.
5. Adam Pardy scored a goal. I repeat Adam Pardy scored a goal. Usually he looks like PardyOrr, but sometimes he looks like Bobby Orr.
6. Ryan Kesler has decided that the Jets are struggling too much and that he will help them slowly get their playoff legs under themselves. It is working as the Jets are starting to look more focussed on getting and keeping the puck like they did in the regular season. They are still not as good as in the regular season, but they are definitely showing that they can still remember how to hockey well.
7. A lot of the blame in the playoffs falls on scorers not scoring, but the playoffs are a different beast from the regular season. Coaches have more time to plan how to shut down key players and if the depth is not there to carry a team through, the team will be done fast unless their goalie plays out of their mind. It is imperative for depth players to be able to score and top offensive players have to be able to do enough to draw the top match-ups away from the depth players and allow them to provide much needed secondary scoring. It is not that top players are bad in the playing bad, it is that they are being forced to play against other top players and the players are good enough to nullify each other more often than not.
8. Mathieu Perreault gets hit from behind into the net by Rickard Rakell and seems to be injured again. This is not good for the depth scoring that is so desperately needed in the playoffs. Hopefully it is noting serious.
9. Andrew Ladd takes a lot of careless or lazy stick penalties. It is a problem because he is one of the key players for the Jets and they need him on the ice because of this. With the Jets penalty problems, one of the easiest ways to cut down on penalties taken is to cut out the dumb stick penalties.
10. There were two missed calls in the last five minutes of the game. First the Ducks had a too-many men on the ice penalty missed and then Jakob Silfverberg held Bryan Little's stick before the goal and it was lights out for the Jets.