I do not enjoy back-to-backs. Anyone who does must hate fun because the back-end of these affairs usually involves your favorite team playing like dogpoo for 60 minutes. In a match-up against a fairly well-rested Isles team, the Jets found themselves unable to slip past Barry Trotz’s big boys. Space near the slot was virtually nonexistent, quality passing was rare, and dangerous shot attempts seldom seemed to bother goaltender Ilya Sorokin. In a rarity, Winnipeg was blanked 2-0 and struggled to create any sort of meaningful offense. Even when the Jets had their skating legs for counters, it felt like every shooting lane was magically blocked by a rock-solid Isles defense. Read on for some takeaways from tonight’s frustrating affair.
- Eric Comrie got the nod in net for a second consecutive night...and actually looked pretty good! Barring some puckplaying gaffes behind the net, Comrie did well to stake his claim to the backup role. He was probably the biggest positive on the evening.
- The officiating really held back on this one. If the refs don’t call penalties on the Isles, their opponents are in trouble. They can grit, grind, and manhandle with the best of ‘em (frequently with illegal means). The Jets found this out the hard way.
- Stastny and Scheifele both left the game with injuries. Mark’s injury, in particular, might be the more disconcerting one. He may have hyperextended his knee or something on an awkward fall. One can only hope it’s not too serious, as the Jets finally looked to have a balanced line-up for once.
- Winnipeg really could do with moving away from the 11 F/7 D routine. On a night in which they lost 2 of the forwards while trailing, the lack of scoring support was noticeable. I doubt it would have led to a win, but having the extra firepower gives you something of a shot.
- This might be the ideal time to summon Cole Perfetti once more. If Pauly Walnuts and Scheifele have to miss extended time, Cole might be the secret beast to solve at least 1 of the gaps. Vesalainen is the other natural option, and he’ll probably get recalled soon anyways.
- The Jets really need to work on the number of odd-man rushes they’re conceding. New York had what felt like a dozen 2-on-1s throughout the whole game. Many of them came off of careless passes and turnovers. The Jets got away with most of these counters, but better teams will punish Winnipeg mercilessly.
- Winnipeg also needs to adjust the second and third D pairings. Neither are working well and the third pairing (in particular, Stanley) is struggling to keep pace up the ice. Heinola coming in is a pipedream, but he’d offer the mobile backend support Winnipeg still needs.