Do you ever sit down for a game and think that this could go one of two ways and that it is far more likely to have the unfavourable outcome because of a gut feeling? Yeah, I am that person. I had a lot of thoughts about the game between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers as shared below. Please understand that the reviews might seem to favour the first period for the next few games and will probably taper off in quality as time goes on.
There is some debate about who the best winger in the North Division is and there shouldn’t be on. Nikolaj Ehlers has long been good, but he has been impeccable this season and with his assist in the first he is only further cementing his case. Ehlers has been a monster for the Jets this year especially on offence. Hopefully this can continue as the season goes on.
The Jets second goal was a thing of beauty. After looking lost for a few games Kyle Connor is back to looking like himself and it was seen when he set up the second goal by twisting and turning in the offensive zone to find Josh Morrissey who banked the shot off of Andrew Copp’s leg. The fact Morrissey is at least contributing on offence is a big thing.
As for the goal against? Connor McDavid decided he was going to score on that shift and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him. That’s not something to hold against anyone as McDavid on a mission is an unstoppable force.
Zack Kassian decided to be Zack Kassian on Nikolaj Ehlers and the refs did nothing about it, but Ehlers was alright in the end.
You know those periods of hockey that are just really pleasant to watch? That was the second period. There were a few moments of frustration with the most notable one being when Kyle Connor had a wide open net and Mike Smith stuck his glove out to stop his shot. Or in the dying seconds Dylan DeMelo had a wide open net and shoved the puck into Smith’s pads. The biggest takeaway from this period was that the Jets didn’t do enough to pull away from the Oilers and that came back to bite them in the third. Having a thin one goal margin against the Oilers means we are ending butt-holding time.
Ah score effects. The Jets are great at proving them right. Score effects is the theory that when you have the lead you play to protect the lead instead of building on it while if you have the lead you are playing to score the next goal. The Jets are excellent at going into a shell when they have the lead going into the third and it is starting to hurt them. This game it flat out lost them the game. The Jets going into a shell allowed the Oilers to out shoot and out chance them in the third which is not good when a team has both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl along with a bevy of talented players just seems like a bad idea and yet the Jets insist on trying to make it work.
Maybe that’s the issue with the Jets: they have their plan and deviating from it is not allowed. Paul Maurice could experiment with the makeup of the team by bringing in Ville Heinola for example and yet he refuses. He rarely changes his lines or his pairings. Maurice is the safest coach out there; sticking with what he knows instead of trying something radical and new. He is the man who wears a grandpa sweater instead of trying that new sweater that he saw at The Bay. He is safe and it is hurting the Jets.