The Winnipeg Jets started off just fine except for the minor issue of Mark Scheifele twisting his leg under himself and looking to be a bit hobbled. This became a theme for the Jets throughout the first period. After a failed power play, the Jets opened up scoring with a persistent goal from Brandon Tanev on the penalty kill got the Jets on the board first. For all the griping that Tanev rightfully got in previous years, he has improved to the point where he clearly is not a liability anymore and is able to actually help the Jets. It’s nice to see.
The period went on and Dustin Byfuglien got hurt on a hit and had to be helped over the boards by Ben Chiarot and Joe Morrow. Byfuglien was eventually sent to the room by the NHL’s concussion spotters although he did return. Beyond that, Sidney Crosby scored a beautiful backhand goal that was very Sid-esque. Can’t even be mad about that type of skill. Anyways, the period ended with Scheifele not playing, but he just seemed hobbled again.
The Jets started the second period fast and did not let up. They managed to get three quality chances not even five minutes in, cashing in on the third. This play continued even though the Penguins responded quickly with a fourth line goal, it was a period the Jets dominated. They had good zone time and were able generate chances. They even scored a second goal before the period was over. And no one got hurt.
If you follow Adam Gretz on Twitter, you would know how unproductive the Penguins fourth line has been and last night that changed. The Pens got two goals from them including a very bad goal from Derek Grant that should have been an easy save for Hellebuyck. That, along with the Jets top three lines losing their legs to exhaustion and Paul Maurice not playing the fourth line, contributed to the Jets loss.
The Pens scored one last goal and the Jets tried to score in the dying seconds, but the Pens were the better team for much of the game. Casey DeSmith out-played Connor Hellebuyck and the Pens out-skated the Jets overall.
Cheers and Jeers
- The line of Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Bryan Little looked dangerous once again. It would be interesting to see the two wingers with Mark Scheifele and Little with Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers.
- Mark Scheifele is looking like he is still Mark Snipele and I am here for it.
- Bench management is something that Paul Maurice struggles with and it is becoming a problem.
- That leads me to this: Sami Niku was called up a while ago and he has sat in the press box. That is fine for a player that you are not trying to develop, but Niku should be an important part of the Jets at some point and he needs to be playing. If they Jets are going to scratch him, send him down and call up a vet to sit in the press box.