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Woe Is OT: Looking at the Jets’ struggles in overtime

The Winnipeg Jets are 1-0-7 in games that need more than regulation time, including being 0-0-6 in games ending in overtime.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Columbus Blue Jackets
Oct 27, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Josh Anderson (77) carries the puck as Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) trails the play during overtime at Nationwide Arena. Columbus beat Winnipeg 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

To this point in the 2017-2018 NHL season, the Winnipeg Jets have seen eight of their games go to overtime, with two of those eight progressing to the shootout. Of the six games that did not end in the super fantastic penalty shot extravaganza shootout, the Jets lost all six of those games.

This article will attempt to figure out why the Jets have struggled at 3-on-3, by examining the breakdowns that led to their six OT losses.

Overtime Game 1
October 26, 2017
Winnipeg Jets @ Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 OT Loss
On ice for the Jets when goal scored: Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Tyler Myers
OT Shots (For-Against): 0-1
Jets Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

The Jets started off this overtime with Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele on the ice. The Penguins had possession for the first 41 seconds of OT, before Buff caused a turnover and the Jets moved up-ice. Scheifele and Buff changed as Wheeler brought the puck in. Wheeler just missed Patrik Laine going to the net. Laine retrieved the puck in the corner, evaded Evgeni Malkin and looked to find Tyler Myers streaking toward the net.

But Phil Kessel intercepted it.

Phil Kessel picks off a pass between Patrik Laine and Tyler Myers

Phil then proceeded to march down the ice on a breakaway and beat Connor Hellebuyck with a soft wrister through the five-hole. Nikolaj Ehlers subs in for Wheeler during the breakaway, in a testament to how plus/minus has some flaws.

What Went Wrong?

With two Jets with full momentum towards the net, and the third below the red-line, the Jets were unable to defend against the sudden counter-attack. If the pass makes it to Myers, it’s possible the Jets win it because he’s alone in the slot, so it’s not truly ill-advised. Only terrific hand-eye from Kessel prevents this from being a scoring chance for Winnipeg. Instead, Kessel scores 1:07 in, and the game ends.

Overtime Game 2
October 27, 2017
Winnipeg Jets @ Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 OT Loss
On ice for the Jets when goal scored: Patrik Laine, Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien
OT Shots (For-Against): 2-2
Jets Goalie: Steve Mason

The next day, Winnipeg visited Columbus and found themselves in the same situation: tied at one after regulation.

About halfway through overtime, Buff, Laine and Little are on the ice. At the 2:30 mark, it looks like Winnipeg will get the chance to clear, with Laine approaching the puck along the boards. Byfuglien begins to skate out of the zone, likely assuming that Laine will chip the puck up the boards with his backhand, with Little also moving outwards.

Eight seconds until it ends.

However, Laine actually passes the puck behind the net, and Josh Anderson jumps on the loose puck. With Laine in pursuit, Anderson circles into the slot and shoots. While this is all going on, Steve Mason is without a stick, as he dropped it making a save several seconds before. The turnover meant he didn’t have time to pick it up from the side of the net. Mason attempts to pick up the stick just as Anderson moves up the half-wall and into the slot, with Laine still a ways back. Brandon Dubinsky moves in front of the net and sets up shop, screening Mason just as he pops back up, still without his stick. Mason attempts to look past Dubinsky’s left, but the shot goes to Dubinsky’s right and past Mason’s glove, ending the game 2:38 in.

Anderson cycles into the slot, Mason vainly tries to pick up his stick, Dubinsky sets the perfect screen.

What Went Wrong?

Mason dropping his stick didn’t do anybody any favours, and seems to be a fault in his game that occurs on a semi-regular basis. Laine’s mistake leads to the chance, as he basically gives Anderson the puck. Dubinsky is hardly opposed by Byfuglien in front, and as a result Mason doesn’t see the shot.

If Little adopts the pursuit of Anderson and prevents him from getting into the slot, it likely prevents a shot. Laine drops off to watch Ryan Murray and Buff actually skate rather than glides to Dubinsky. Maybe Mason doesn’t drop his stick. I dunno.

Overtime Game 3
November 4, 2017
Winnipeg Jets vs Montreal Canadiens 5-4 OT Loss
On ice for the Jets when goal scored: Andrew Copp, Toby Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien
OT Shots (For-Against): 3-4
Jets Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

Tyler Myers is called fro cross-checking 1:54 into OT of a 4-4 game. One minute 13 seconds later the game ends on a Max Pacioretty goal.

On the play, seconds after a pretty obvious pick from Pacioretty knocks Buff over and goes uncalled, Buff fails to clear the puck up ice as She Weber knocks it behind the net. Toby then goes to wrap it around the boards, but Weber again makes a play to knock it away straight to Alex Galchenyuk, who feeds Pacioretty for the one timer goal as he sits all alone in front.

What Went Wrong?

First of all, don’t take penalties in OT.

Second of all, the hit from Pacioretty was interference every way you slice it.

Third of all, get the puck out when you have the chance. The Jets failed to do so twice. Also I don’t know where Andrew Copp went when Pacioretty was alone in front.

Puck needs to leave the zone here or, if blocked by Weber, Weber cannot be allowed to get by with it.

Overtime Game 4
November 29, 2017
Winnipeg Jets @ Colorado Avalnche 3-2 OT Loss
On ice for the Jets when goal scored: Adam Lowry, Josh Morrissey, Jacob Trouba
OT Shots (For-Against): 0-1
Jets Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

To quote referee Mike Leggo: “You can’t do that”.

With eight seconds left in regulation, the Jets were called for too many men.

It wasn’t close.

After one possible winning goal was ruled offside, Nathan MacKinnon doinked one in off of Josh Morrissey’s butt for the winner, after a nice backhand pass from Alexander Kerfoot found him alone in the slot.

What Went Wrong?

First of all, don’t take penalties in OT. Technically, this was before OT, but when it occurred the writing was on the wall.

Overtime Game 5
December 9, 2017
Winnipeg Jets @ Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 OT Loss
On ice for the Jets when goal scored: Bryan Little, Nikolaj Ehlers, Tyler Myers
OT Shots (For-Against): 0-2
Jets Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

After winning a face-off in the Jets’ end, the Lightning retreat advance to rear, and back into their own zone, luring the Jets out into the neutral zone.

Then they struck.

This is the moment I said “Oh no!”

Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat circled back and headed up ice with a head of steam, Point going at Bryan Little, Palat at Tyler Myers. Anton Stralman passes to Point, who blows by Little and tucks a back-hander past Hellebuyck to end it.

What Went Wrong?

Tampa set a trap, and Winnipeg sprung it gloriously. Rather than staying put and making it difficult or impossible for Tampa to get through them, Winnipeg’s players follow Tampa out into the neutral zone. When Point and Palat turn back up ice, Little and Myers have to scramble to accelerate to match their speed. Winnipeg can let Tampa have the puck in their own end, and should be closer to their own blue line than Tampa’s.

Tampa’s strategy is one I wouldn’t mind Winnipeg trying, especially with the speed they have up front. Using this to their advantage, rather than cycling and looking for high-risk cross-ice passes in the offensive zone looks like an effective method of generating chances.

Overtime Game 6
January 2, 2018
Winnipeg Jets @ Colorado Avalanche 3-2 OT Loss
On ice for the Jets when goal scored: Dustin Byfuglien, Kyle Connor, Mathieu Perreault
OT Shots (For-Against): 5-5
Jets Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

This goal against highlighted a problem with the offence for the Jets during OT. The Jets establish possession in the offensive zone, and begin a mini-cycle. Byfuglien makes a move towards the net and Perreault attempts to find him, but the pass bounces off of Buff’s leg. Even if this pass works, Varlamov likely comes out and shuts down the angle.

Mikko Rantanen goes for the puck, as does Mathieu Perreault. Perreault knocks it up, but it’s straight into the chest of Rantanen.

EN GARDE!

Rantanen controls the puck and pushes it ahead to Erik Johnson, who scores on the breakaway with a shot I thought Hellebuyck could have had.

What Went Wrong?

Too fancy, not enough speed, and high risk passing. The Jets, throughout these overtime periods, repeatedly attempt to press the issue to no avail, and occasionally it burns them as it did against Pittsburgh, Tampa and Colorado the second time.

Overall, I think the Jets need to be a little more conservative in some of their attacks, ensuring somebody is back to defend to prevent the breakaway goals that have ended three of these overtime games. Using their size and speed to drive the net is also preferred and suggested, rather than the cross ice passes that are prone to allowing odd-man rushes.

The Jets have been out-shot 21-19 in their eight overtime periods, which isn’t a huge margin of difference. They have had one OT power-play, which came against Philadelphia in a game they later won in shooutout. They are 0-for-2 on the penalty kill, as teams can make easy use of the open-ice 4-on-3 chances provide.

So what do you think is wrong with the Jets’ overtime performances? Let us know in the comments.