Hey everyone, and sorry for the late recap! I was practically on death's door yesterday (by which I mean I have a moderately annoying cold and am a big baby).
Watching the Winnipeg Jets last night certainly didn't aid in my recovery. After seemingly (though perhaps not actually) hanging with the Chicago Blackhawks for the better part of 40 minutes, things swiftly went to hell in a handbasket. But let's start at the beginning:
darkness Winnipeg, my old friend
Winnipeg had a familiar face joining them last night, and no I don't mean Andrew Ladd. Our old friend Nic Petan was recalled on an emergency basis, joining the third line of Adam Lowry and Scott Kosmachuk. Hands up if you foresaw Winnipeg's lines ever looking like this in 2015-16. As per Daily Faceoff:
Despite joining the terrifyingly bad Manitoba Moose, Nic Petan still managed 32 points in 47 games during his reassignment, placing him second in team scoring. For reference, Chase De Leo is first with 33 points in 63 games; Petan clearly made an excellent account of himself production-wise.
At the very least, his recall came part and parcel with seemingly increased opportunity on the third line, as opposed to the fourth. @DJ_Biff_WPG summed it up well:
@DJ_Biff_WPG oh he's playing 3rd line tonight nvm.— Ryan Browning (@DJ_Biff_WPG) March 18, 2016
2. Tank you, Andrew
You knew it was coming. You even placed a box of Kleenex on the armrest in anticipation. The inevitable Andrew Ladd tribute video:
To be fair, after six years as franchise captain, 433 games and 306 points, it was well-deserved. Particularly moving was the moment when Ladd
lifted the Stanley Cup celebrated a playoff win put on a sweater.
3. Pavelec gets a piece of it
Though Chicago held even strength advantages of 13-10 in shots and 23-18 in Corsi, the score remained 0-0 after 20 minutes. The period's highlight was almost certainly this glove save by Ondrej Pavelec:
No one should doubt Pavelec's ability to make the highlight reel save ("trademark flashes of brilliance" as InGoal Magazine's Greg Balloch put it last night). Part of the problem has always been his penchant for doing so, relying on reaction rather than sound positioning. It's an issue when one depends, even doubles down on the fantastic as opposed to the ordinary.
But don't ask me, ask Pavelec's even strength save percentage over the last five seasons. As per NHL.com:
Among goalies with at least 25 games played, here's how those seasons rank:
2015-16: .913 Ev Sv%, 37th out of 43 (between Cam Ward & Anders Nilsson)
2014-15: .927 Ev Sv%, 15th out of 45 (tied with good Jonas Hiller)
2013-14: .908 Ev Sv%, 45th out of 51 (between Cam Ward and Martin Brodeur)
2012-13: .914 Ev Sv%, 22nd out of 25 (tied with Niklas Backstrom)
2011-12: .917 Ev Sv%, 31st out of 45 (tied with Evgeni Nabokov)
One of these years is not like the others, one of these years is good.
Bad goalies make good saves from time to time. Also, a broken clock is right twice a day. #NHLJets— John Malloy (@JMall95) March 19, 2016
4. The game goes downhill fast
Game #71's 2nd period felt largely similar to the 1st, until the dam broke that is. First, Patrick Kane beat Pavelec up high with an absolutely world-class backhand:
A moderately egregious turnover by Drew Stafford in Winnipeg's defensive zone spelled trouble just 26 seconds later. While Dustin Byfuglien successfully blocked Artem Anisimov's shot, the puck subsequently went straight to Marian Hossa:
Chicago again held the shot advantage in the 2nd period, to the tune of 11-7. And according to Natural Stat Trick, matters weren't much better Corsi-wise:
What had felt like a fairly even match was in actuality Chicago out-chancing Winnipeg by a relatively consistent margin. The biggest difference between the 1st and 2nd periods was that Winnipeg finished the latter down 2-0.
Don't trust your memory. It's pretty much all susceptible to back fill that your brain constructs to reinforce its biased world view.— Stephen Burtch (@SteveBurtch) February 26, 2016
It was a question dwelling in the dark and quiet recesses of your mind: would Andrew Ladd score against Winnipeg? The answer came 03:06 into the 3rd period:
Goals in the NHL aren't going to come much easier than that. Less than two minutes later, Fleischmann would pop another one in to make things 4-0, where the game would remain until its conclusion.
Ladd hasn't exactly been an unqualified success since reuniting with Chicago, but he had a good night in his return to Winnipeg. Though Ladd played most of the game alongside Toews and Hossa, the top-line really clicked once Hossa was replaced with Kane (Toews and Kane assisting on Ladd's goal being a nice microcosm of this).
At even strength, Ladd was on the ice for 10 Shots For versus just 4 Shots Against, good for a 71.43 Shots For % (second only to Teuvo Teravainen). Expanding beyond shots showed a closer but still positive night, with Ladd owning a difference of 15 Corsi For to 10 Corsi Against.
But all the Corsi attempts in the world might not be enough to mend his broken heart:
6. The story after 60
When everything was said and done, the Blackhawks held a rather sizeable advantage beyond just the 4-0 score. The final even strength shots tally was 35-22 in favour of Chicago. Contrary to conventional wisdom regarding score effects, this included an 11-5 edge for the visitors in the 3rd period.
In lockstep with the shots discrepancy was an also abysmal Corsi differential, to the tune of 58-39 favouring Chicago. Natural Stat Trick's "Game Flow" chart more than adequately visualizes yesterday's tale:
7. The Kids are All Right(?)
Let's return for a minute to Nic Petan. When last we saw the 2013 2nd rounder, he was coming off consecutive nights of ~10:20 TOI. Playing on that aforementioned third line yesterday, Petan managed a laudable 15:23, including 02:43 on the power play. It's nice to see that, for at least one night, I don't have to scream over the 20-year-old's NHL ice time (or lack thereof).
Unfortunately, he and his entire line were also buried at even strength.
During his 12:40 of even strength TOI, Petan was on for 6 Shots For versus 14 Shots Against, and 11 Corsi For to 21 Corsi Against. Adam Lowry managed marginally better numbers, and Scott Kosmachuk marginally worse.
Kosmachuk is longer in the tooth than Petan, but it's no crime if both of them aren't quite ready for primetime. As for Lowry, I continue to wonder if his skillset might befit the fourth line rather than the third.
Though speaking of the fourth line, it was a rough night for Halischuk-Copp-Thorburn. You're shocked, I know. I'll give you this sentence to pick your jaw up off of the floor.
After 60 minutes, Matt Halischuk had the best ES SF% and CF% of the trio, at 35.71% and 25.00%. On the ice for 3 Shots For versus 10 Shots Against, and 4 Corsi For to 14 Corsi Against, Andrew Copp's ES SF% and CF% were 23.08% and 22.22%, respectively.
It's worth noting that most of the damage was done in the 1st period. The following made for a rather humorous screencap last night:
When one considers the above start, the fourth line's final numbers almost don't look so bad. Almost.
8. Feel the Burm
Burmi is getting back into the rough stuff! If he keeps up his play of this last stretch, we might have old Burmi back.— Arctic Ice Hockey (@arcticicehockey) March 19, 2016
It was actually a good night for Alexander Burmistrov. At even strength, Burmi was on the ice for 7 Shots For versus 5 Shots Against. While he had a CF% below 50%, his 47.83% was still leaps and bounds better than most of Winnipeg, as reflected in his +9.99 CF% Rel.
With the notable exception of March 12th against Colorado, the last five games have been positive affairs:
Burmi still has a 5v5 CF% of just 48.00% on the season, but one can hope he's finally shaking off the KHL rust proper. An Alexander Burmistrov closer to the one we used to know bodes well for Winnipeg's depth, both now and in the future.
Don't forget to pick up your (hopefully flammable) Ondrej Pavelec + Michael Hutchinson pennant tomorrow, and thanks for reading!