Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A 2-5-0 start through the opening two weeks of the season looked like more of the same from the Thrashers-turned-Jets.
And yet, that adversity might have been what this team needed to see the light.
"Having struggles in the first week or two turned out to be a good thing for our team,’’ Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice told ESPN.com Wednesday.
"The guys have been good, I like the room, I like their willingness to grab hold of what we need to fix and do their best. It was a positive. You can’t always ease into things, sometimes it’s got to be a little bit harder to make a change. It’s not like we’re playing flawless hockey by any means, but we understand what we’re doing and I think we’re pretty committed to it right now."
A 5-0-1 run starting Oct. 26, a stretch where they’ve given up only six goals, has people around the hockey world taking notice.
My thoughts on the Jets, all about goaltending and coming to play every night. Two topics which have haunted them for years, can they turn it around this year?
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Sustainable success in the NHL is almost always underpinned by strong team defence. Keeping the puck out of the net comes first for winning teams.
The Jets have been unable or unwilling to grasp this concept for long stretches of play in the three previous seasons they've played in Winnipeg. Paul Maurice declared it his priority No. 1 heading into the off-season and so far his message is being heard.
Maurice wanted his team's goals against to improve. It has and the direct correlation has been wins. The Jets have allowed just seven goals in their last seven games and won six of them while collecting points in each one.
They've shot up the standings from last in the Central Division to third and now own a 7-5-1 mark.
Another key statistic for the Jets right now is Pavelec's save percentage, which bumped up to .924 after he stopped 23 of 24 shots Tuesday against the Predators.
The Jets are getting good goaltending, the Red Wings are on the rise since Datsyuk’s return, a star in the making in Nashville, lineup news, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Jets Goaltenders - Ondrej Pavelec had a 38-save shutout in a 1-0 shootout win over the Rangers Saturday; then Michael Hutchinson delivered a 33-save shutout, in his sixth career NHL game, against Chicago in Sunday’s 1-0 win.
Getting quality goaltending is a major step forward for the Jets, considering Pavelec has ranked 24th, with a .907 save percentage (out of 26 qualified with minimum 150 games) over the past four seasons.
Additionally notable about Pavelec’s play in this first month of the season is that, compared to last season, he’s facing shots from a closer distance, on average (33.02 feet last season, 30.54 feet this season, according to Sporting Charts), yet is delivering a higher save percentage.
continue for much more
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
It was the kind of road trip that could define the Winnipeg Jets as a hockey team.
Hard-working. Defensively conscious. Getting great goaltending. A bit lucky.
“A lot of the things that we have to do, that kind of embraces who we are, went into getting a chance to win a game like that,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said after his team capped off one of its most successful road trips in their four seasons in Winnipeg with a 1-0 win over the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center Sunday night.
Playing for the second straight night after beating the New York Rangers 1-0 in a shootout Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, the Jets bent but never broke against the Blackhawks and improved their record on the road trip to 3-0-1. They now have points in five straight games and are 6-5-1 overall.
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
- How many Jets fans and media actually cheer for Ondrej Pavelec to fail now, as part of some sort of "I told you so" narrative? I keep saying/writing this, but it seems like every goal against has become a referendum on his career.
- FYI: the Jets after 10 games this year 4-5-1. And after 10 games last year: 4-5-1. Since opening 9-2 under Paul Maurice last year the Jets are 13-15-6. There is something there in terms of systems and the buy-in, but the results look the same.
- Nobody asked me, but this Dustin Byfuglien hybrid thing — playing wing regularly and dropping back to the point on the power play and for 4-on-4 — is the best use of his talents and ice time.
- The stat line from the Jets fourth liners — Jim Slater, Chris Thorburn, T.J. Galiardi, Matt Halischuk, Anthony Peluso — after 10 games: 38 GP (combined) with zero goals and zero assists.
Nikolai Kulemin received five for boarding and a game misconduct.
Mark Stuart did return to the game.
Not one, but two Avalanche players feel the hits from Byfuglien.
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
They lacked focus and finish. None of their players had good nights. Winnipeg gave too many open looks to Tampa’s big guns and the visitors didn’t miss when given the chance.
Jets coach Paul Maurice is quickly finding out he’s got even more of a challenge on his hands than he might have expected.
His group is mentally soft and doesn’t have a compass.
Inconsistency has been the hallmark of this club since it moved to Winnipeg and Maurice is the man now tasked with determining how to stamp out that insidious trait.
The Jets are drifting towards dangerous territory in a hurry and now own a 2-5 record for a share of last place in the Western Conference. They’ll face their cellar mates Sunday when the Colorado Avalanche come to town. Thumb wrestling for the most honest golfer award.
Yes, it’s still early in the schedule, but in the near future the NHL standings will begin to take shape and making a big move up the charts will become increasingly difficult.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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