© Chuck Duboff
By the end of the first period in last night’s game 6 between the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators, it was obvious to any knowledgable hockey fan that once again Peter Laviolette had come up with a plan to stifle the Jets vaunted power play.
In a 1-0 game, the Jets got three power play chances in the last half of the first period. Not only did they not score, they were not able to muster any offensive zone time…on a POWER PLAY. Laviolette had his penalty killers aggressively going after the Jets power play and not letting them set up. Every time the puck went to Wheeler on the wall, a Preds player went right after him…same with the point and Big Buff…they went right to him and he was never able to unleash his cannon. The whole power play was disrupted and you could sense the frustration in the Jets players.
That’s two games now where coaching has made a significant difference in the outcome. Implementing the neutral zone trap in game 4 also stifled any Jets offence…credit to Nashville coach Peter Laviolette for not standing pat, but bringing out a new game plan to shut down the Jets. Additionally, getting Scott Hartnell on the ice and under Buff’s skin was also been a smart idea.
What now for the Jets? To start, I would find a way to get Jack Roslovic in the lineup…put him on the line with Bryan Little and Matthieu Perrault. On the power play there’s gotta be an emphasis on faster passes…last night I noticed several soft passes which allowed the Preds to intercept the puck and shoot it down the ice. If the Preds get the lead Thursday night and set up the neutral zone trap, the Jets have to dump the puck in and skate hard to get it…it’s game 7 and there’s no standing around. Every shift matters…you gotta make it count.
I think there were a lot of nerves in the young Jets players…and I would include the likes of Scheif, Trouba and Lowry…they haven’t experienced this deep a run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Conner, Ehlers, Morrissey, Laine, Helleybucyk, Roslovic, Copp, Tanev…this is all new…
The onus is on Coach Maurice now to come up with a game plan that will give the Jets a chance to win…status quo won’t do it Coach!! You gotta one up Laviolette.