Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 02/15/12 at 02:40 PM ET
In a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders last night, the Winnipeg Jets were anchored by a toothless power play that managed two shots on three opportunities with the man advantage. Yes, “anchored” because this aspect of the Jets game kept the team from moving forward and essentially sank the team.
I know, teeth can’t have anchors - such is my frustrated state of mind after watching last night’s increasingly pathetic outing. I won’t even bother calling it an effort.
The Jets hadn’t even had a power play for a couple of games, so to get three in one game seemed like a gift. Well, never look a gift horse in the mouth, I guess, right? The Jets could barely even get set up on the power play, and when they did they were so busy with north-south passes trying to set up the perfect goal that they only got two measly shots through. This north-south passing plagued the team last night - so busy were the forwards with the tic-tac-toe passing that they seemed to forget that only pucks directed on the opposing team’s goalie stand any chance of resulting in goals.
That’s right, Jets fans, this same team that potted five against the Penguins wasn’t breaking out of its offensive drought as many were quick to herald. Consider that game officially an anomaly. Despite getting 38 pucks through on Evgeni Nabokov (who, admittedly, played a very good game), the Jets had very few quality scoring chances. Case and point – 11 of the 38 shots came from Dustin Byfuglean and Tobias Enstrom, and few had guys parked in front of the net for the screen or redirect. Nabokov will stop those all day.
The Jets got worse and worse as the game went on, and by the third period looked as though they had given up. Guys were coasting to get off the ice and back to the bench, allowing the Isles to move the puck up the ice quickly and create a number of odd-man rushes. Early in the season when the Jets seemed to drop the ball numerous times in the third period I thought it was conditioning – with 58 games played I’m not so sure it’s a physical thing that’s holding the Jets back.
Last night’s game was the first of nine in a row (except tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota) that will see the Jets play at home. If they want to catch the reeling Toronto Maple Leafs, they’ll have to pick up two points in virtually every tilt. The Isles – who played fantastic positional hockey last night against a team that could barely get over the offensive zone blue line – are just two points behind the Jets with two games in hand. They played like a team that was, to use the Jets’ slogan, fuelled by passion – one that is looking to quietly make a playoff push.
Even if this Winnipeg Jets make the playoffs, they clearly don’t have the right pieces to do any damage.
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About Benny and the Jets
Fifteen years ago, Ben's beloved Winnipeg Jets left town. He begrudgingly turned to the Montreal Canadiens for comfort and found none, and is now struggling to find a place in his heart for the Winnipeg Jets v2.0.
Ben is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer that writes a lot about wine and beer. Expect his son to be drafted into the NHL in 2025.