Temporarily putting the tank on hold, the Winnipeg Jets hunkered down after falling behind 2-0, scoring three straight to win 3-2 over the Colorado Avalanche. They clearly must have been inspired by the Detroit Red Wings. Here are ten thoughts, Tweets and/or moments of note:
1. The bar was set low on Thursday.
Speaking of Thursday's tilt against the spoked wheel, it was a moderately unpleasant affair. The final shot tally was 35-25 in favour of Detroit, coupled with an even strength Corsi discrepancy of 52-31. The 2nd period was especially ugly, with the Red Wings carrying a 24-7(!!) even strength Corsi advantage. That's 77.42% to 22.58%. That's not good.
By time everything was said and done, only four of the Jets 18 skaters managed to be on the positive side of the Corsi ledger: the second line of Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Burmistrov - Marko Dano, plus Tyler Myers.
Heading into tonight, it was reasonable to expect better against the league's worst possession team.
2. Adam Lowry has zero shorthanded goals this year. This did not change.
Despite coming up against the Colorado Avalanche, who are again terrible, the Jets got off to a slow start. Prior to the penalty against Cody McLeod which seemed to wake Winnipeg up, the positive highlight was likely this breakaway attempt by Lowry:
It was a "huge save" in that Colorado probably wanted to avoid allowing a shorthanded goal in the 1st period of a 0-0 game. With that said, it didn't seem like an especially hard stop for Semyon Varlamov to make.
3. The game goes downhill fast.
After an admittedly nice feed from Matt Duchene to Erik Johnson opened the scoring in the 2nd, Colorado struck again less than two minutes later, this time on the power play:
A few thoughts. First, kudos to Ondrej Pavelec on the highlight stick save. Second, while Dustin Byfuglien looked mad enough to kill, it's hard to disagree with the referee's assessment that the puck was still alive.
After the game ended, Elliotte Friedman made an excellent point: how for both the players and the organization, it's important and encouraging to see that level of continued emotional investment from Byfuglien, especially given the contractual commitment to him. Makes sense.
Mark Scheifele making his presence felt on the scoresheet is becoming dangerously expected, and unfortunately for TNSE's player budget, it's a trend which continued tonight:
It's hard to believe his now 14.2% shooting percentage won't come down somewhat, and there's plenty of time left in the season for that to occur. But regardless, the combination of Perreault's pass with Scheifele's patience and subsequent shot was a mighty sweet sight to behold.
By time the game ended, chalk Scheifele down for a new running total of 18 points in 12 games.
5. Down 2-1 at the end of the 2nd. Time to head for the exits, right?
There's no doubt it was a nice goal by Scheifele, but with the Jets still down 2-1 heading into the 2nd intermission, his effort was unfortunately too little, too late. For we all know that Winnipeg is incapable of winning when trailing after two periods. Just ask Twitter:
We probably don't need to remind you how often the #NHLJets win when trailing after two periods. Let's just say the odds against are long.— Ted Wyman (@Ted_Wyman) March 13, 2016
6. Speaking of after 40 minutes.
As Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun pointed out, by time the 2nd intermission rolled around, Dustin Byfuglien had already played 19:08 TOI, including 4:35 on the power play and 2:13 on the penalty kill.
By comparison, Paul Postma was up to 5:54 TOI, including 0:00 on the power play and 0:00 on the penalty kill.
We'll come back to this later.
7. Adam Lowry totally redeems himself.
After Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford combined to make it a 2-2 game 07:26 into the 3rd , the Winnipeg Jets did not relent. Remember that somewhat flubbed breakaway attempt back in the 1st period? Adam Lowry wants you to remember this instead:
Big congratulations to Scott Kosmachuk, who was rewarded for buzzing around all game with his first career NHL point.
While it was a rather nice saucer pass from Kosmachuk, let's turn back to Lowry. Between his 1st period breakaway and 3rd period goal, there is only one movie which can accurately describe Lowry's night:
8. All's well that end's well.
The Winnipeg Jets ended up getting buried by Colorado in the 3rd period, with the Avs holding advantages of 15-7 in shots and 22-12 in even strength Corsi attempts. Despite this, Winnipeg managed to hold on, winning 3-2 for their first 3rd period comeback of the season.
In the end, Winnipeg's bottom-six had an excellent night, with both trios of Halischuk-Copp-Lipon and Kosmachuk-Lowry-Thorburn running solidly positive nights. In contrast to their game against Detroit, the second line of Perreault-Burmi-Dano was roughed up. He may have brought "the dangles", but Burmistrov's KHL+1 season continues to be rather subpar from a possession standpoint.
9. Putting the tank on hold for a worthy cause.
And that worthy cause was providing a significant stumbling block to Colorado's playoff hopes. The Avs' loss tonight, combined with Minnesota's 4-1 win over Montreal, means the Wild have now moved into the 2nd Wild Card spot while still possessing a game in hand.
Hate to say it, but sacrificing the tank for a day to help knock the Avs out of the playoffs would be amazing. #NHLJets— Harrison Lee (@HLLivingLoco) March 13, 2016
Jets fans are sure to be split on which rival they despise more, but personally speaking, I abhor the idea of a team as anomalous and dreadful as the Avalanche going on to experience the postseason (again!).
Sorry Tyson Barrie. No, don't you give me that look:
As I tweeted prior to the game against Detroit, it was never realistic to expect a 0-16-0 record from Winnipeg over the season's remainder. They're going to win at least a few of these "meaningless" games. Due to both injury and general lack of depth, it'll be a nice chance to audition some of the kids and expose them to the NHL, as we saw tonight with Kosmachuk.
If they manage to eke out a win now and again, let's have it come while playing spoiler. Extracting thanks from Minnesota Wild fans is something to be relished:
Ah Thank you! https://t.co/BGwO7m7wmI— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 13, 2016
10. Paul Postma.
After 60 minutes, Dustin Byfuglien had a grand total of 29:02 TOI, nearly half the game. Paul Postma played all of 6:42 TOI, without a lick of special teams time.
Let's put aside the Red Deer native's extremely favourable fancy stats. Am I to believe that Paul Postma is so great a liability that it requires Dustin Byfuglien play nearly (and sometimes over) 30:00 minutes a game, in the homestretch of a knowingly lost season?
Sorry, that was the sound of my head exploding.
Call me crazy, but now seems the perfect time to a) somewhat alleviate the burden on the organization's just re-signed star defenceman; in conjunction with b) shifting those minutes to others down the depth chart in order to better see exactly what they're capable of.
Over the last five games, Dustin Byfuglien has played an average of 27:19, a number which rises to 29:13 if we remove the game against Detroit (in which he suffered an upper-body injury and only played 19:44). Across the same five games, Byfuglien has skated to the average tune of 04:36 per game on the power play.
Paul Postma has played an average of 08:53 over his last five games, 06:45 over his last three and literally 00:00 minutes on the power play all season. This from the defenceman who once scored 23 goals and 84 points in 70 games with the Calgary Hitmen, and 44 points in 56 games with the St. John's IceCaps. For a supposed depth offensive specialist, he's not exactly being provided the offensive opportunity to succeed.
Before tonight's goal on the man advantage, the Winnipeg Jets had the 30th ranked PP in the league. After the day's happenings, it has since jumped to 28th, tied with Calgary and ahead of only the Toronto Maple Leafs. The point remains: this is not some well-oiled machine being discussed. Paul Postma would be hard-pressed to make the power play worse.
Is now really the time to be overloading Dustin Byfuglien's minutes? The answer is no.
Hard to imagine Mark Scheifele not being on Team North America with the way he has played the last dozen games. Has been star for #NHLJets— Ted Wyman (@Ted_Wyman) March 13, 2016
Thanks for reading!