The Winnipeg Jets returned to action after a 4-0 shutout over the rather dreadful Calgary Flames. While spirits may have been elevated after a thorough thumping of the Albertan cowboys, Winnipeg was due to return home for a match against the Ottawa Senators. Cue some mild internal panic. The most recent homestand was an absolute atrocity for the eyes. Even when Winnipeg played well, it still managed to lose. Could the Jets haul themselves to victory once more?
The First Period
The game started off promising enough. Winnipeg had some early jump and warmed to the task quickly, forcing the Sens into a defensive posture. Ottawa isn’t great at defending, and the early pressure gave the Jets a power play. With Neal Pionk missing this game, Morrissey was back on PP1 while Ville Heinola chaperoned PP2. The first power play looked a bit tepid, with Morrissey struggling to help his linemates. The second unit popped on with just a few seconds remaining and Heinola immediately helped set up a wide open chance of Pierre-Luc Dubois, who pinged it off the post. Heinola drew the PK unit towards his side of the ice and hit the right forward with a cross-slot pass, a move he’s done frequently with the Moose. It should have been a clear goal for the Jets.
Unfortunately, the Sens ended up breaking the scoreline first, taking advantage of a chaotic Poolman-Forbort shift to tip a shot past Connor Hellebuyck. The American netminder wasn’t finished having a rough start, as he turned the puck over a minute or so later to the Sens on a baffling wall pass attempt. Ottawa gained possession quickly and deflected a point shot that Hellebuyck never had a chance on. Just like that, the Sens had sucked the life out of the arena and Winnipeg entered the dressing room with a 2-goal deficit. Yikes.
The Second Period
The Jets were looking to rapidly right the ship after a difficult first period, and Mason Appleton delivered the answer. Scheifele found Appleton on the right flank for an early period goal, cutting the scoreline down to 2-1. From there, Winnipeg spent most of the middle frame trying to solve Filip Gustavsson and failed to find the game-tying goal. This team has a lot of great shooters, and all of them struggling to hit the back of the net is a bad problem to have before the post-season. Ottawa, for their part, hit the Jets with a few dangerous looking counters. Even benign rushes can spell trouble for Winnipeg quickly, so it’s wise not to underestimate the Sens. The Jets left the period with yet more work to do.
The Third Period
Well.....they tried! Winnipeg did a lot of skating, some shooting, and certainly some passing, but actually finding dangerous opportunities against the Sens proved to be challenging. Ottawa was reticent to open a welcome mat to the Jets and made life a living heck for Winnipeg every time the trailing squad tried to create an offensive sequence. The Jets did test Gustavsson on a few occasions, but the game-tying goal remained elusive.
Things got even grimmer when a shift with the 4th line and Forbort-Poolman pairing ended in disaster. Everyone got caught out of position, leaving Tim Stützle an easy one-time opportunity to pad Ottawa’s lead. The Jets clawed one back late in the game thanks to a saucy feed from Wheeler to Scheifele, but the comeback effort fell well short. Stützle completed his hat trick on an empty net and that settled affairs for the night. Winnipeg has now lost 8 of its last 9 games. The time for change is at hand.
The Jets are down bad.
Even when this team has sustained stretches of decent play, the puck luck, finishing, and poor decision-making all conspire to spoil the fun. Winnipeg’s in a rough patch and the way out is absent.
The team desperately needs an injection of skill beyond Ehlers.
I know lots of folks aren’t keen on bringing some of the kids up, but the current veterans are either too slow or sloppy to consistently create. The Jets should really get Perfetti or someone else an audition. Who knows, maybe it sparks the squad!
My patience is wearing thin...
I don’t know about y’all, but watching this team is a bit of a chore these days. I miss eagerly hopping on to watch the team play. It’s been feeling like work for the past few seasons now. I miss the fun Jets. Can we have them back?