It’s been a minute since the Jets have played at home. The team, still without star defensemen Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien, is doing its best. The past few games were encouraging, even, with the forwards creating offensive opportunities like last year’s squad. After smashing the Hurricanes and losing a close game to a resurgent Capitals squad, Winnipeg welcomed the San Jose Sharks. How did the wifiless Jets handle their underwater nemesis?
The First Period
This game was quite eventful from the puck drop, with both teams showing off energized skating legs and some shakier defensive sequences. Though it took a few shifts before either team recorded a shot on goal, it wasn’t for lack of trying. During the end-to-end chaos, Andrew Copp got tangled up with Radek Simek and both collapsed in a heap. Simek took the worst of the damage, with his leg appearing to bend in a shape the human mind cannot comprehend. I really hope he recovers quickly, because that was extremely difficult to watch.
Despite the loss of Simek, the Sharks pressed ever onwards, and caught the Jets napping a bit with a Vlasic rebound goal. The puck squeaked through Hellebuyck, who looked a bit uncomfortable on a few previous shot attempts. 30 seconds later, Winnipeg equalized on a Copp tip from a Chiarot point blast. The Jets added to their goalcount barely 30 seconds afterwards, with Little banking a shot off of a Sharks skate to make it 2-1. San Jose wasn’t satisfied with the scoreline and tied it late in the period. Gustav Nyquist punished the Jets defensive coverage with a slick backhand, tying it at 2-2. Phew, talk about a chaotic first period.
The Second Period
The Jets entered the middle frame with part of a power play. The man advantage without Byfuglien has been a bit stagnant, but Kyle Connor managed an extremely tight angle shot near the net-mouth to make it 3-2. Connor has been a ghost at 5v5, but the kid sure can score. From that point on, the Jets owned a considerable chunk of the play. They swarmed the offensive zone and threw puck after puck at Aaron Dell, making the San Jose keeper’s life rather busy.
Unfortunately, Hellebuyck’s shaky outing continued, with Nyquist bagging his second goal of the evening from another squeaker. The marker was initially credited to Vlasic, but the scorers later adjusted the record for what appeared to be a small deflection off of Nyquist. The Sharks carried the momentum for the remainder of the period, hemming Winnipeg’s struggling defensive unit in on numerous occasions. The Kulikov-Myers pairing was at the heart of many of these defensive zone collapses, none of which are surprising. That pairing continues to be awful, and the Jets need to sever ties with both players at the conclusion off this season.
The Third Period
The less said about this period, the better. Marcus Sorensen opened the scoring with a nice feed from Jumbo Joe, breaking the deadlock with what felt like a fate-sealing dagger. The Jets then proceeded to get tenderized by San Jose for most of the period, until a late push saw Winnipeg chase the elusive tying goal. Miraculously, they got it, courtesy of a glorious Mathieu Perreault tip.
As is so often the case, Maurice completely bumbled this game by continually putting out Winnipeg’s worst defensemen in high leverage situations. The Jets had less than a minute to go in the period for a point, and still managed to lose on a last second Pavelski marker. The Jets pinched deep and Myers was off in who-knows-where-land while Kulikov got caught in a 2-on-1. Game, set, match. Absolutely embarrassing, beer league stuff with this team. You can say it was unlucky, but it really wasn’t.