The Jets have won several of their last string of games, but there are some warning flags hidden beneath the record. The Jets aren’t generating much from the most dangerous areas of the ice. The absence of offense in the low-slot area is of note, and Winnipeg’s goalscorers have done their best to mask it. Tonight, however, the Colorado Avalanche did enough to show why Winnipeg’s offense needs to start taking risks, lest it become fully toothless.
The first period was a bit of a seesaw effort, with both teams looking to break the ice. Colorado was already under pressure after starting netminder Pavel Francouz had to be replaced 30 seconds into the game. Mark Scheifele collided with Francouz on an inside drive and appeared to unintentionally concuss the goalie. Back-up Adam Werner hopped into net and never looked back, keeping Colorado comfortably in safe territory.
The Avs notched first blood towards the end of the opening period, with Cale Makar dicing the Jets defense apart with some beautiful edgework. Connor Hellebuyck never had a chance as the puck nestled behind him. The Jets continued to throw pucks at the net but they didn’t take that many shots from the space in front of Werner. The Swede was certainly looking sharp, but Winnipeg failed to make his life a living hell at even-strength. The only line that regularly harassed the Avs was Laine-Scheifele-Connor. They were, in a word, brilliant. Unfortunately, they could not solve the Werner Train and the Jets conceded a number of goals in the final 20 minutes to lose 4-0. Yikes.
The Jets are playing too darn conservatively.
I know Winnipeg’s backline is a disaster right now. That said, if the Jets want to have any shot of winning with regularity, they need to gamble a bit in the offensive zone. I’d rather this team be bad and fun, or at the very least, watchable. The squad is lacking an attacking spark right now, and too many skilled skaters look like lifeless husks out there. Ehlers, Laine, Connor, and Scheifele can’t cover for the rest of the dead weight.
The top line is dynamite.
The combo of Laine-Scheifele-Connor was sensational this evening, and provided the most eminently exciting hockey of the evening. Every time this unit stepped on the ice, the Avs were immediately under pressure. The top line created offensive zone turnovers and very nearly connected on some glorious scoring opportunities (the only ones the Jets really created). I hope they keep this up and stick together at full-health, because the points dam will eventually break.
The power play looks ungood.
I’ve said my piece on Laine needing to be on the first power play unit, but some other stuff doesn’t look right either. The snappy, precise passing hasn’t been as sharp at times and the one-timers are taking too long to set up. With the suboptimal power play units being iced, the special teams scoring just isn’t there right now. Winnipeg really needs to right this ship, especially if they continue to struggle at even-strength.