OK, so maybe I WAS panicking a week ago…..
What a difference a week makes! What a road trip for the Jets!
Going back to 8 days ago, including the home victory against Colorado, the Jets have reeled off 4 wins and 1 shootout loss.
Since the last Jets update, the team has really cut down on odd man rushes and breakaways defensively. They’ve cleared pucks from the front of their net. They’ve made nice break-out passes.
Ironically, even though they’ve been outshot in several games, they’ve allowed fewer high quality scoring chances, in my opinion. In short, they’ve helped their goalies to make the saves.
And what a difference that makes. I think that the main impact is on our goalies’ confidence. Pavelec is playing the way he did in his first season here. Maybe better than the first season, since he hasn’t been caught out of position quite as much as he used to.Consequently, he hasn’t let in any soft goals in quite a few games now – since the Tampa Bay game,actually. And Hutchinson looked just as solid against Chicago last night.
The result – 5 goals allowed in the last 5 games. That’s right – 1 1.00 goals against average in the last 5 games!
Not surprisingly, when you keep the puck out of your own net, you have a darn good chance of winning!
Paul Maurice must be keeping his fingers crossed that the lessons have finally taken hold. Hopefully success breeds success, and the results of solid defence motivate more of the same.
The Jets showed great hustle. Even when Chicago maintained possession in the Jets’ zone, the Jets didn’t panic (unlike this impressionable scribe). They made sure that they were each covering their man, or their passing lane. They each did their job.
And they’ve been rewarded with back to back shutouts, for the first time since the team relocated to Winnipeg.
Jacob Trouba was an absolute beast against Chicago, making huge hits all game long, including solid collisions with Toews and Sharp. And these were not gratuitous hits. Trouba almost always ended up skating away up the ice with puck, as well.
Zach Bogosian looks like he might be finding his game again.
Little, Ladd and Frolik were solid all week long, in both ends of the rink. Frolik potted the game’s only goal against Chicago, with some nice patience for the winning shot. This line set the tone of the game in favour of the Jets, right off the opening face-off!
Scheifele, Wheeler and Kane looked good again. It’s nice to see Kane beating defensemen wide, and making some shots on net. Scheifele and Wheeler still look snake-bitten with their scoring chances. This line will score a bunch soon.
The entire defence corps played well.
The Jets third line did a great job of cycling the puck in the offensive zone, especially in the third period. They also did a great job of controlling the neutral zone, and plugging up the Hawks rushes.
The main issue for the Jets is their fourth line. Although they took care of their checks, they were often hemmed in the Jets zone for stretches of time.
Now the Jets play two at home – Nashville on Tuesday and Pittsburgh on Thursday – followed by another four game road trip, starting on Saturday in Ottawa.
Standings – tied for 8th in the conference (with Chicago and St. Louis), and 3 points out of first place in the Central Division!
(OK, throw bricks at me now for my article last week – On a count of 3 – One….Two……)