The Winnipeg Jets left home turf and woke up in Minnesotan territory this morning. That can only mean one thing....a gladiatorial deathmatch against the Wild. While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, generating offense against the Minnesotan squad has actually felt a bit like a gladiatorial tussle. Winnipeg didn’t come out on the winning end of the last meeting between the two border rivals. Would they make amends and tame the feisty Wild, or would they find themselves lost in the Minnesotan winter landscape once again?
The First Period
I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but I’m growing concerned about the Jets. The top-6 has been getting caved in, and it happened again in the first period. Winnipeg looked gassed, with Scheifele and Wheeler bearing the brunt of a bad opening 20 minutes. The second line was no better, and it didn’t take long for the Wild to start racking up the shot count. Just over 5 minutes into the game, Jordan Greenway took advantage of Winnipeg’s sluggishness to nab his 8th goal of the campaign. An ugly, chaotic sequence leading to another goal against.
The Jets had a few power play opportunities to try and salvage the situation, but did little to instill confidence. Their best chance came on a counter that saw a 5-on-2 situation develop. After some lucky (but skilled) passing, Tyler Myers couldn’t slot the puck into the net space above a sprawled out Dubnyk. Just like that, the period was over. There were very few positives to draw from the first frame, but at least Winnipeg did something before the whistle.
The Second Period
Winnipeg, uh, did not improve. After a solid arse-whooping in the first period, the Jets looked sluggish and sloppy in the second. Minnesota’s neutral zone trap, which is hardly a surprise, disrupted every single Jets breakout. No matter what Winnipeg did, it was a Sisyphean task to gain offensive zone pressure. When the Jets finally did get in the Minnesota half, very little came of it.
The Wild were a lot better about creating offense in the Jets end. While they were mostly content to try and blast 1,000 pucks from the point, the power play had a nice sequence of passing that eventually led to a Jason Zucker goal. Myers didn’t get good positioning on Zucker and either his or Zucker’s stick deflected a Koivu pass right into the net. To add insult to injury, the Jets gave up another Zucker goal after flubbing a power play sequence. Winnipeg didn’t account for Zucker coming out of the box, and Jason made them pay dearly. All seemed lost until a late period sequence saw Brandon Tanev claw a goal back. Progress, I suppose.
The Third Period
Minnesota really let off the gas, and it showed. The Jets tried to put the “score” in score effects and more than doubled their shot output from the first two periods. While Winnipeg did push aggressively, you got the sense it was too little, too late. Dubnyk was relatively collected and the Minnesota defense gave the Jets few low-slot looks that favored a goal. The Wild, for their part, did not get a shot on goal. Yikes.
With the goalie pulled late, Scheifele collected a bit of a greasy goal off a net-front scrum. It was a nice tally for his campaign, but not enough to get the Jets level. The remaining empty net shifts failed to find paydirt and the Jets dropped a rough 2 points. Look, I love Winnipeg, but I think it might be time to admit this team is in a spot of trouble if it doesn’t call upon some reinforcements soon. The most important players are looking haggard.
- Scheifele and Tanev scored.
- Everything sucked. Everything.