Howdy friends! Feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a proper game recap for meaningful hockey. Well, the season’s finally kicked off and the Winnipeg Jets have spent 3 periods doing something against the Anaheim Ducks. The positive spin is that it’s just one game of many. The less positive spin is that things had a....distinctly familiar feeling. While the end result is a frustrating loss, there are some bright spots to note amidst a fairly underwhelming performance. Here are my takeaways from Winnipeg’s season opener.
- Cole Perfetti’s good. NHL-caliber good. Like really good. Did you see how good he was?? Like, how is he not with the team after this game?! Perfetti was one of the most consistently dangerous players last night and had some beautiful passes. He was unlucky to record no points on the evening.
- Special teams were a disaster, to put it lightly. The PK was garbage. The PP was nearly as bad. Both sides of the odd-man situation equation failed to pull their weight for the Jets, and it decided much of the scoreline.
- Winnipeg’s slot offense was rough. Anaheim hit the Jets repeatedly on dangerous counters that drove low and cut Hellebuyck apart. Winnipeg should have had much more slot penetration but couldn’t muster much until the latter half of the game.
- Gibson legitimately robbed the Jets a few times. Winnipeg wasn’t entirely listless on offense. The problem was that the Jets just couldn’t consistently replicate their most dangerous opportunities, and the Ducks had far more threatening opportunities.
- Wheeler might be cooked. He just can’t keep up with his deployments and I genuinely don’t know what role would help him out of the rut he’s in. If Maurices keeps running the captain out this much, the Jets are gonna be in more trouble than they realize.
- Kyle Connor actually backchecked! Multiple times! And he forced turnovers! I didn’t think such miracles were possible, but my eyes witnessed the promised land of KFC defensive work. Oh, how sweet were such sights.
- It’s only one game...or so I tell myself. The Jets will take some time to adjust to their new aggression and blueline activations but they need to figure it out quickly. It’s especially worrying that special teams were still atrocious after a mediocre preseason showing.
Let me know what you thought about the game in the comments below.