Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 10/30/11 at 05:41 PM ET
What a difference a game makes. After being lit up for eight goals (and squeaking out a win with nine themselves), the Winnipeg Jets lost a squeaker, falling 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in an important division matchup. Yes, that’s right, in case you had forgotten the Jets are in the Southeast Division.
With both the Lightning’s Dwayne Roloson and the Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec not exactly putting up stellar numbers to begin the year (3.62 and 3.75 goals against average, respectively), I figured this could be another high-scoring game. But both ‘tenders stopped 27 saves - the problem being Pavelec faced 28. A great shot from a bad angle by Vincent Lecavalier at the end of the second period (on the power play) was all that was needed in this one.
Was it close? The score says yes and having watched the game I’d have to agree. The one thing that jumped up about the Jets’ play last night was that they gave up a ton of odd-man rushes, meaning Tampa Bay took advantage of the Jets’ defensemen pinching in the offensive zone (as they like to do). The D were lucky Pavelec was able to come to the rescue, ‘cause guys like Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos have been known to rack up their share of assists and goals (respectively). The Lightning demonstrated their ability to move and control the puck in the Jets’ zone many times, both on at even strength and on their many power plays. Yes, once again the Jets took more penalties than their opponents, and one of ‘em resulted in the game-winning goal. That has to change.
Offensively, the Jets’ main problem last night was not being able to capitalize on rebounds. Evander Kane got nearly 20 minutes of ice time last night, and showed his strength and presence down low as a result. Blake Wheeler appears (at least for the time being) to be back on a line with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little. Is it even worth repeating that the Jets won’t win many games until this line starts producing? Maybe the Ladd/Little/Wheeler line can “scare” up some offense when they visit the Florida Panthers tomorrow night. Scare? Halloween? See what I did there?
Odds and ends:
- What was the point of picking up Brett MacLean off of waivers from Phoenix before putting him back on waivers only to be snapped up by - you guessed it - the Coyotes? I mean yeah, he played in five games, but only played more than ten minutes in one of ‘em. Wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to give one of the St. John’s IceCaps some time with the big club?
- Peter Mannino was the backup goalie last night after Chris Mason suffered a groin injury on Thursday night in his brief stint on the ice against the Flyers.
- Defenseman Derek Meech was placed on the injured reserve list with a “lower body injury.”
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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.