clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game Recap: Winnipeg Jets vs. Buffalo Sabres

Oh nooooo

Buffalo Sabres v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets have been looking a little chaotic recently, alternating brief winning spells with brief losing spells. You’re never entirely sure what sort of performance you’re in for, but most of the games have at least been closer affairs. Thursday’s match-up against the Buffalo Sabres was anything but. Buffalo walked into Winnipeg and smacked the Jets around for 60 minutes. Were it not for Hellebuyck and some late-game attempted heroics, the scoreline could have been grim.

The early proceedings weren’t terribly promising, with the Jets turning the puck over blindly repeatedly against Buffalo’s forecheck. You can tell the Sabres know defending isn’t in their DNA, because they commit numbers up the ice aggressively. The Jets had little space to complete passes or make defensive zone exits, leading to far too many early looks for the Sabres. Winnipeg wasn’t punished for its mistakes in the opening 20 minutes, but the following 2 periods were far more painful.

Buffalo Sabres v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The middle frame highlighted Winnipeg’s inability to escape Buffalo’s constant pressure. The Jets were overwhelmed, and could barely create counters to generate scoring opportunities further up the ice. The few attempts they did create were either blocked or swallowed up by Eric Comrie. The Sabres then struck on a number of Winnipeg miscues, granting Owen Power and Tage Thompson clean looks to score. You can’t afford to allow the Sabres room to shoot, and the Jets learned that lesson the hard way.

The final 20 minutes largely continued the theme of the prior periods. Buffalo dominated. Winnipeg withered. The Jets tried to mount a comeback late in the game, scoring twice with the goalie pulled to make things interesting. Buffalo’s 3-goal lead, however, was too much for the Jets to surmount. Winnipeg will want to right the ship quickly before the All-Star break arrives.

Five Takeaways

  1. Bones had the team moving away from what has made it successful; aggressive defenders and up-ice pressure. The Jets were slow and passive; Buffalo made short work of the defensive miscues to bury Winnipeg before take-off.
  2. Hellebuyck was one of the few bright spots, holding the fort down as much as he could before Buffalo’s passing broke through.
  3. Stanley and Pionk just can’t be in the game at the same time. Both have struggled with their defensive assignments, and Pionk’s been dragging down every pairing he’s been in this year. Logan had a better start to the season, but his first 2 games back appear to be premature. Samberg was doing just fine...why bench him?
  4. Winnipeg needs to do all it can to try for Timo Meier. He could legitimately change the team’s direction over the next few years, and it would be quite the statement of ambition.
  5. The Jets are still 7th in the league, so it’s not like these losses are putting them in a bind. All that said, the recent downturn in form and return of some bad habits does give minor cause for concern.