Occasionally, hockey is extremely dumb and painful. The puck bounces at peculiar angles, the random skater slips, a breakaway emerges from absolutely nothing....hockey is organized chaos. There are, however, no words to accurately describe Winnipeg’s effort against the Dallas Stars. I’ll attempt to recount the tragedy of the trainwreck that was splayed out across the ice (and oh, was it a trainwreck). At least it’s the All-Star break again!
The First Period
The game started out auspiciously, with the Jets getting a few decent offensive zone possessions and doing what they usually do against the Stars. Dallas has had trouble defending against fast teams, and Winnipeg applied enough early pressure to cause a bit of chaos. Then the Jets took a penalty, and it all went downhill from there. Winnipeg’s PK is typically passive, but it was especially awful tonight. The Stars were gifted an easy power play goal after the Jets decided to ignore Brett Ritchie, who parked himself in front of Hellebuyck.
From this point on, Winnipeg completely caved to the offensive pressure. Repeatedly, the Stars hemmed the Jets in their own end for long stretches. None of the Jets skaters could clear the zone, and any offensive pressure they generated in transition quickly dissipated. Winnipeg earned a few power plays but did next to nothing with them. Shots were in short supply, my patience even shorter. Despite being outshot 11-4 in the opening 20 minutes, the Jets escaped with a 1-0 deficit.
The Second Period
Things immediately got worse after the intermission. Blake Comeau extended the Stars lead just 22 seconds in, putting this game further out of reach. The Jets continued to get crushed in almost every respect. I know it’s right before the All-Star break, but this is a pretty bad showing from a team that wants to win a Cup. Winnipeg also took a lot of penalties, which can’t continue during the post-season. Late to every puck, undisciplined with sticks, and poor execution on basic plays. Yikes.
To add insult to injury, Dallas got a nice 3-on-2 opportunity that Radek Faksa converted on. Hellebuyck, one of the only Jets to show up tonight, could do nothing as the puck whipped by him. Winnipeg had a few more shots on goal in the remaining time, but trailed on the shotclock 28-12. I....don’t even know what more to say. Sometimes you just suck.
The Third Period
The Jets woke up a bit and started playing some actual hockey. Brendan Lemieux got things started with a net drive that resulted in a greasy goal. Quality play from him, one of the few times his line got into the offensive zone and converted. Kyle Connor added another goal just 20 seconds later and suddenly, the Jets were back in the game. For some reason, Winnipeg decided to start playing sloppily again and fumbled pass after pass, leading to quick Dallas counters. Hellebuyck had to stop multiple breakaways, which is quite the ask.
In the final few minutes of the game, The Refs decided to have a field day and called all manner of bizarre penalty. The minors completely messed with the flow of the game and by the end of it, Winnipeg was on a late penalty kill. Tyler Seguin extinguished the last spark of hope for the Jets, sinking the ship with a power play marker. The Jets may think this period was good, and it was, but doing absolutely nothing for the first 40 minutes is a much bigger concern.
- The scoreline may look ugly for Hellebuyck, but he was outstanding in a game where his team played like an ECHL squad for two periods.
- This was a wasted game against a struggling opponent. Winnipeg looked like it was already on break, and it got the exact result you’d expect. This certainly wasn’t a must-win or anything, but it’s disappointing all the same.