Rick Bowness is trying to cook something up out of this Winnipeg Jets team, and it ain’t working. After a dismal loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Bones went to the drawing board and rebuilt the line-up to what he felt would be a “balanced” unit. The result was a mismatch of skill and grinding up and down the lines. Against a fast, skilled, high-octane offense in the New Jersey Devils, the gamble backfired tremendously.
The first period was a tense, fraught affair. Winnipeg was tight defensively, limiting the quality looks New Jersey had against Hellebuyck. Unfortunately, the Jets couldn’t generate much offensively. The Devils tightened their grip on the neutral zone and pinned Winnipeg deep on a number of shifts. Thankfully, Helly was sharp on the handful of chances the Devils were able to sneak through.
Things appeared to break for Winnipeg when Cole Perfetti collected a juicy rebound off of Blackwood to make it 1-0. Dawson Mercer followed up less than 30 seconds later with a blister of his own. It felt like New Jersey might build off of the goal, but Neal Pionk ended the period with a long-distance blast to restore Winnipeg’s lead. While the Jets did not deserve the lead, they welcomed it with open arms.
For a game that saw 3 goals scored in less than 5 minutes, a second period absent of scoring felt like a strange sign. The Devils generally bossed proceedings while Winnipeg had to create danger through rapid counters. Blackwood and Hellebuyck generally shut the door, but New Jersey also rang the posts a few times. At some point, you’d have to imagine the luck would finally run out.
The fortunes finally turned a corner when Fabian Zetterlund caught the Jets defense napping for the tying goal. It was a fair result after the Jets had begun to live beyond their means. Pain followed on a Miles Wood goal to put the Devils ahead. It was a lead New Jersey refused to relinquish. To make matters worse, Brendan Smith injured Nik Ehlers on a series of crosschecks and a stick trip. Ehlers left the game and did not return, to which my brain immediately snapped to the “this is fine” meme. Mercer closed the game out with an empty-netter, punctuating a frustrating night for Winnipeg.
- I like Bowness, but the last month has looked a lot like the version of him that Dallas fans hated. If he doesn’t turn things around quickly, this team will have a short post-season trip.
- Chevy needs to be working those trade deadline phones aggressively. The Jets need scoring help in the worst way.
- Please disband 81-80-8. That line made my eyes bleed.
- Pionk finally had a great game for once. I’d love if that happens more often.
- The Jets are very fortunate the West is weak right now. That said, continually dropping points while the Wild and Avs move up would be very suboptimal...