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Recap: What the Fork!

The Jets are officially in The Bad Place.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets were full marks for their 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They played horribly and gave up multiple odd-man rushes in the first couple of periods alone. Only a miracle would have had one of their goalies leaving the game with a respectable save percentage. It is sometimes hard to say who is at fault for a loss because losses happen, but this one is squarely on everyone.

One of the biggest issues with the Jets is that they often look like their preferred mode of playing hockey is to stand around and watch the game happen and only start moving when the puck is near them. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage because they are constantly chasing someone who has been moving the entire time. One easy change the Jets should implement quickly is going from a static system to a system based on movement.

The Jets also look disorganized defensively. Because they are constantly going from stationary to moving and are therefore in a constant state of chasing, they need to start staying on motion so they are not starting from a static position. This might mean a systems change, but is moving your feet really changing a system?

The Jets do not have a talent deficit up front. Their defence leaves a lot to be desired, but the offence has the skill to be better than it is. They are tasked with playing a system that puts them at a disadvantage to win the puck battles they need to win and maintain possession for longer. One of the reasons why the Jets being a fast team a couple seasons ago was a big thing was because they used their speed for an advantage and constantly pressured teams into turnovers.

Three Thoughts

  1. There is almost nothing a goalie can do when his team is giving up multiple odd-man rushes in a game. The stats look bad for both goalies, but especially Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck needs a complete game rested instead of Paul Maurice commenting that he doesn’t need to take morning skates. Playing goal is mental as well as physical and he needs to be given a game to reset and get his head into a good space. He has played a lot this year and most goalies get more games off than he does. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of rest.
  2. The Jets seemed to be caught unaware by the Lightning many times last night. It was almost like they were not prepared for the team that the Lightning had become after a slow start to the season. If that is the case, that is on the coaching staff for not doing their jobs, but the players also needed much more intensity than they had last night.
  3. The defence is just bad. Whoever thought that this group would be a NHL-worthy defence really needs to look themselves in the eye and ask themselves how they thought this would work. It makes no sense and really needs to change/be rebuilt. Not even Dustin Byfuglien could save them.