The Winnipeg Jets are usually a fun team. Every now and then, though, they show shades of those no-good, very-bad, dead-inside Jets teams of the past few seasons. These teams struggled to do much of anything, other than concede terrible goals and hope the shooting talent would carry them through. On a night the Jets welcomed the Vancouver Canucks, we were once again graced by the No-Good Very-Bad Dead-Inside Jets.
The First Period
Things weren’t looking too great after a few early minutes of game-time saw both teams struggle to record a single shot on target. There were plenty of counters either way but both squads didn’t seem at the races. Finally, the Jets gained some offensive zone time and put Vancouver’s weaker blueline to the test, with a quality chance from the top-line against Thatcher Demko. The Jets failed to score, though, and the Canucks lumbered their way up the ice.
As is often the case with dumb hockey games, Winnipeg conceded first off of a deflected shot in front of Hellebuyck. Nate Schmidt was credited with his third goal as a Canuck. J.T. Miller added another tipped shot less than 30 seconds later, putting the Canucks up 2-0. Winnipeg suddenly looked disorganized and fell to pieces. The Jets were fortunate not to concede another goal in the chaos, but did get bitten on the penalty kill by a third tipped shot. Winnipeg has usually been on the receiving end of good puck fortunes, so a crappy game was a bit overdue. The lack of response from Winnipeg, though, was disheartening.
The Second Period
With the Jets looking lifeless despite a 3-goal deficit, Maurice swapped Paul Stastny and Pierre-Luc Dubois to try and spark the team. Neal Pionk and Josh Morrissey also had a shift or 2 together. For almost the entire period, however, Winnipeg struggled to create any offense whatsoever. They didn’t really give the Canucks all that many looks either, but it’s hard to find any positives here when the Jets were as stale as dirty dishwater.
Winnipeg finally started to wake up towards the end of the period, with the Stastny-Scheifele-Wheeler line creating a few fabulous chances near the net. Unfortunately, a sure goal for Wheeler was...completely passed off. I’m not sure what Blake was thinking here but it felt like a game-killing sequence. A goal would have put Winnipeg in alright straits heading into the third, but the Jets found themselves with nothing to show for 40 minutes. Whoof.
The Third Period
The final 20 minutes saw the Canucks resting their laurels on the 3-0 lead. Somehow, they managed to leave the game without a goal against despite Winnipeg’s flurry of late scoring chances. The Jets were in full-court press and the Canucks seemed entirely content to spend the period taking a nap. Demko, however, was very sharp in net and silenced Winnipeg’s firepower. Instead, Elias Pettersson casually dragged the puck back down the ice and put the game to bed, 4-0.
This felt like a deserved loss after a fortunate win over Montreal this past weekend. The Jets have played rather poorly over the last few periods. They’ll need to reverse the trend with a rematch against the Canucks looming. Let’s hope they actually show up for round 2...
Winnipeg’s forwards were dead in the water.
Sometimes, Winnipeg looks a lot like the lotto-bound team of last season. There was inconsistent distribution, slow transitioning up the ice, and a general lack of offensive jump. The blueline needs to step up and support the forwards more frequently. As it is, the attack is too stagnant right now.
The Jets were unlucky, but made no luck of their own.
The 3 goals against were a bit unfortunate. That said, the loss itself is still a fair reflection of the game. Winnipeg just didn’t do enough to deserve a victory. They’ll have nights like these, but they need to limit them going forward. Give the line-up some fresh legs and go from there.
Niku-DeMelo continue to impress.
This pairing was one of the more offensively-courageous Jets D groupings on the night. Niku, in particular, had some great deflected shots on goal. His edgework, vision, and smark shooting are all great assets to this team. I expect the team to bench him all the same, because he doesn’t fit the coaching staff’s view of a roster need.