Hockey can be a dumb and confusing sport sometimes. Such was the case tonight, with the Winnipeg Jets visiting their hated rivals, the Nashville Predators. Peter Laviolette’s squad was hungry to dish out some sweet revenge after a game 7 loss to Winnipeg during the recent playoffs. What actually occurred during this game can only be described as.....uh.....stuff.
The opening frame was the most normal period of the game. Winnipeg and Nashville exchanged quite a few shots and scoring chances, with the Jets holding the edge in scoring opportunities 16-12. The shot clock was a bit kinder to Winnipeg, with the Jets leading 11-6. Neither team was able to beat goalies Pekka Rinne and Connor Hellebuyck, despite some dazzling stretch plays and end-to-end action. It was a closely-contested, physical first period between both teams, exactly what you’d expect from two Cup-contending rivals.
Things often snowball quickly when you’re making poor decisions, and Winnipeg was served some painful lessons in just how much things can snowball. Three minutes into the period, Ben Chiarot tried to force a pass to Dustin Byfuglien. As you can guess, Ryan Hartman read the pass the whole way, stole it, and sped down the ice for a beauty of a breakaway goal. I am so tired of watching Chiarot continually blow plays. He’s not an NHL-caliber defenseman, much less a second-pairing defenseman, and if the Jets don’t figure this out soon, they could be in some deeper waters.
You’d hope things would get better, but things most definitely did not get better. Winnipeg proceeded to take penalty after penalty, daring the Preds to add to their one-goal lead. Despite being served a whopping 8 power plays, Nashville could not solve their own special teams incompetence. They had a handful of quality chances, but the rest of the power plays were hot garbage. Since the Jets were shorthanded so frequently, you can guess they generated little in the way of offense. Just an ugly, ugly period, folks. The third frame had to be better, right?
The game did not get better. Chiarot and Byfuglien, standard bearers of a defensive unit that had a rough evening, got caught again on a bad Buff pass. The Preds raced towards Hellebuyck and took advantage of a lazy back-check to make it 2-0, courtesy of Roman Josi. Several minutes later, Ryan Johansen put the cherry on top with a remarkable individual effort to backhand the puck past Hellebuyck. That was enough to close out the game’s scoreline at 3-0 Preds.
Wow, was that annoying to watch. Discipline, defensive acumen, offensive creation, good officiating....everything was notably absent. It’s only the fourth game of the season, but this felt like a game the Jets had every opportunity to take 2 points from. Instead, Winnipeg will have to saunter back home with a 2-2 record. It’s not been a terrible start to the season, but the Jets have a lot of work to do if they want to truly make a deep run this season.
- Connor Hellebuyck. He was incredible, especially on the penalty kill.
- Nope, no one else deserves anything.
- This defence is bad. I’ve said this several times now, but Myers, Chiarot, and Morrow can’t all be iced at the same time. FIX IT JETS.
- Everything else, basically.