Kukla's Korner

Benny and the Jets

One team, two nights, two totally different results

Only four Detroit Red Wings were kept off the score sheet last night in a 7-1 thrashing of the Winnipeg Jets. In contrast, every member of the Jets was a minus save for Tanner Glass and Jason Jaffray, with Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane “leading” the charge at -4 apiece. Ouch.

This game was in stark contrast to the Jets’ fourth win in a row the night before, a 4-2 defeat of the Carolina Hurricanes at the MTS Centre. I’d never put the current Hurricanes squad in the same tier of play as last night’s Red Wings, but to see such a drastic turn of events over the course of 24 hours has to be unsettling for the team.

Now, you could argue that the Jets didn’t arrive in Detroit until 4:00 AM, that they were on the second of back-to-back games, etc., but the fact of the matter is they just royally stunk up the Motor City last night. Things started well for the Jets, with Bryan Little continuing his hot streak from the night before with a goal in the first minute of the game.

That was about the only highlight on the Winnipeg side of any note - the rest of the highlights all featured the Wings putting the puck past Ondrej Pavelec. The Red Wings put on a clinic, taking advantage of pinching defensemen, creating odd-man rushes and scoring almost at will on Ondrej Pavelec. He didn’t play Friday night against the Hurricanes, so the “two games in two nights” excuse really doesn’t work for him.

The highlight of the night for me was this ridiculous backhand pass by Pavel Datsyuk to Valteri Filppula - I’ve never seen anything like it.

That says it all right there, folks. And to think the Jets will be in the same division as this team next year. Yikes.

I can’t really understand why Ondrej Pavelec was allowed to start the third period after having already given up six goals. Then, when he let in his seventh of the night less than two minutes into the third, he was replaced by Chris Mason. I mean, I get that Mason played the night before (and did well against the ‘Canes), but all I can think of is that head coach Claude Noel asked Pavelec whether he wanted to continue and he said yes, but then decided to get all coach-y and rightfully yank him for Mason.

Are the Jets ready to face the Red Wings a half dozen times next year? How about the red-hot Minnesota Wild or the Chicago Blackhawks? Can the team just stay in the Southeast for a year or two more?

The contrast in Friday and Saturday night’s games shows that this team still has a lot of work to do. They showed great grit against the ‘Canes and rolled over with a whimper against the Wings. Would a bit more grit have helped? Hard to say - I heard one caller on a post-game show last night wonder whether a player like the late Rick Rypien would have been able to light a spark under the Jets after they were down 3-1 or 4-1. It’s possible, although guys like Glass or Jaffray - both of whom bring at least a bit of grit - certainly didn’t step up in that department.

The Jets had won four straight against some pretty tough teams (including the Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes), but last night they brought none of the determination and jam that was needed to even keep this game close. It’s not surprising that they lost - especially given the depth and caliber of the Wings’ lineup and the travel schedule/back-to-back stuff - but to be blown out so badly has to be concerning.

Winnipeg plays Tuesday night at home against the Minnesota Wild - they’ll certainly need to step up their game if they want the score to be close.

Filed in: Winnipeg Jets, | Benny and the Jets | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, minnesota+wild, phoenix+coyotes

Comments

Avatar

The main question should be more like “if the Wings are on, is there any team they cannot beat?”

The Flyers and the Pens in the East and the Sharks and Canucks in the West will be great games.

Somehow the Detroit team is coming up with a very tough team again.

It should be a great winter in Motown.

Posted by bobbo from Romeo, Michigan on 12/11/11 at 11:15 PM ET

BMS's avatar

If this were a Wings blog, I might agree. But it’s a Jets blog. I’m sure there’s plenty of places to ruminate on the Wings’ greatness elsewhere on this site.

Posted by BMS from Winnipeg on 12/11/11 at 11:35 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

This type of hot-and-cold performance was the team’s trademark in Atlanta.  I was hoping that better management and coaching would add some consistency (which is all I thought was preventing them from being a perennial playoff team).  Old habits die hard, though, and the season is only a quarter over.  Hopefully they can turn it around soon.

Posted by Savage Henry on 12/11/11 at 11:57 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Based on the little I’ve seen and read about the Jets this season, last nights game wasn’t a huge surprise to me.  Seems like most of the year the Jets haven’t had a problem scoring, but haven’t been all that great defensively.  Combine that with the aforementioned quick turnaround and a skilled opponent who was sitting and waiting for the tired Jets to come into town, and that’s the kind of game that can happen.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Jets have a good young group of forwards, but to me, they lack on the back end.  Bogosian is still very young and has yet to really develop into what he was expected to be, and Byfuglien is just not very good defensively.  Sure, he racks up points, but he’s never going to be a shutdown D-man, and that’s something the Jets desperately need.  Even the injured Enstrom, while a very good puck mover from the back end, isn’t that strong defensive presence either.  This team could be something if they could get that shutdown D-man (or 2) to go along with their offense.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 12/12/11 at 12:46 AM ET

Avatar

Why did the Jets get into Detroit at 4 am?  Didn’t they play at home the night before?

Posted by Steve on 12/12/11 at 08:47 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

The Jets got hung up in customs.

I have to +1 what was said about the Jets d-men. Too many times, Pavelic was left to hang. Even if he were a near-perfect goalie, only 2 or 3 of those goals were his fault. The question comes with how the Jets will fill that gap.

Since WPG will be in the same division as DET next year, this is a great way to fire up a new rivalry. I give the Jets a lot of credit for not getting goonish once the game got out of hand. Young Evander Kane took a few cheap shots out of frustration, but that goes to a lack of leadership on and behind the bench. With a couple more pieces, this Jets team could be contenders.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/12/11 at 10:07 AM ET

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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.

Send him an email at bmswpg@gmail.com and/or follow Ben on Twitter: @bensigurdson