Jets Post-Game 23: Un-Berra-ble

Kevin McCartney
November 18 2013 10:21PM

Serenity Now

From the opening puck drop, the game felt inevitable. Setoguchi was buzzing, the Jets controlled the puck, and chances on net seemed to come easily. Casual errors, turn overs by defencemen at the offensive blue line, and Reto Berra are the reasons the Jets managed just a single point against a poor team playing a poor game. 

The first period was like a dream for the Jets. A tripping penalty by Peluso on his first shift was killed off with not shots against. The Jets fired 11 against Berra and had as much offensive time and space as they have at any point this year. For an 8 minute stretch (9:41 to 1:44), the Flames didn't even have a shot on net against the Jets. Small flurries and a few scoring chances were turned aside by Al Montoya, who showed control and precision in his moments early on.

Cammalleri's second period powerplay goal opened the scoring, but only served to make the Jets more aggressive, more forceful. By the end of the 2nd period, the Jets had out shot the Flames 34 to 15, and out Fenwicked them 37-21. But they trailed 2-1, thanks to a high, looping deflection off of Michael Frolik defending TJ Brodie at the point.

At the end of forty minutes, dominating on the shot clock, in possession time, and in scoring chances, the frustration boiled over in a Smid-centred scrum where Byfgulien had a 'Hulk Smash!' moment. 

Sure, it's not 'good' to take a penalty. But it's a rare player in the NHL that can get a roughing penalty against TWO players AT THE SAME TIME! Byfuglien is that rare player.

More than just being a very large, very powerful man, Byfuglien was expressing all the rage of Jets Nation at a frustrating game where two points felt guaranteed from the first shift. An emotional conduit to the tune of 6'5", 260lbs. 

There were no adjustments to be made in the intermission, but pucks continued to find their way into the Jets' net. 

In the third, Olli Jokinen's long, slow wrister erased Brodie's equally unreasonable goal. A shorthanded pick on Byfuglien and then goal around a sprawled Montoya by Lance Bouma was equalized in the same powerplay by Dustin Byfuglien storming the net swinging his stick like a golf club. Then, while Montoya rolled around on the ice for no reason I can understand, the Flames moved the puck back and forth until Hudler had a clean shooting lane. Somehow Montoya was still on his stomach by the time Hudler fired to make it 4-3. A Little rebound goal with 5 seconds left sent it to OT and eventually the shootout, where Berra was again the better netminder.

It is a very disappointing loss for the Jets. Any of the four goals against could and perhaps should have been prevented. Mistakes at the offensive blue line cost them containment and chances against in a game in which it felt as though they could have controlled the puck for all 60 minutes. In a week with 3 challenging Divisional games, and during perhaps the most difficult month of hockey on the season schedule, the Jets most definitely had this game circled for a win. 

The Good

The Jets' second line of Kane / Jokinen / Setoguchi was spectacular again this game. Against his old team, Jokinen was on for 31 shot attempts for, and just 11 against. Stunning. He also scored a goal, and celebrated with his arms crossed above his head. Any one able to tell me what that means? Perhaps he's joining the X-Men as Gourd Head. 

Jokinen was also 72% in the faceoff circle, and very much earned his 22 minutes of ice time. The Jets as a whole won the faceoff battle 42-30 after going 19 for 52 just last night. This just in, Mikko Koivu is better than any of the Calgary centres!

In general, the Jets took it to the Flames, and it's hard to pick a particularly successful player from the bunch. The fourth line had a shift in the first in which they controlled the puck down low for a full minute and generated chances on net. I wasn't sure I'd ever see that this season. They managed a positive corsi rating as a group and individually.

The LLW line faced Stajan, Cammalleri, and Stempniak most often throughout the night, as well as the Flames' top two defence pairings almost equally. They came out on top as one might expect. Two points for Little, two for Wheeler, and both looked dangerous. 

Byfuglien had another perfectly Byfuglien game. In an 8 goal game, Dustin Byfuglien was on for every single goal. That's the third time this season he's done that. He had two points himself, as well as six penalty minutes and six shots, and was given first star in the game. Considering his very prominent role in 29 minutes of ice time, perhaps he deserved it. Still, if a player is giving up as much as he gets, he's not necessarily a positive influence. He and Clitsome are dynamic, but probably too high event. 

To their credit, the pairing was close to 70% in corsi numbers, and were directly involved in three of the Jets goals. 

The Bad

Boy, Al Montoya might not see the net for a while. Isn't Jason Labarbera on waivers right now? 

He didn't have an especially poor game. He made some very nice stops, in fact. But the fourth goal looked like a tiny tots goalie playing gymnastics in net, and Claude Noel's face shows his exasperation above. 

Mark Scheifele played 9:58 this game, and he earned it. The only player to be under 50% in the shot attempts game, Scheifele was ineffective in the offensive end and a ghost in the defensive end. Not in the way that he haunted people. In like a Casper way, where solid objects pass through him and he's unnecessarily nice about it. He was also -2 in the game.

Was that the return of Anthony Peluso any of us expected? First of all, I expected him to take Thorburn's role. It's so confusing to put Halichuk in a role he's not capable of and then bench him for not being capable of it. The team needs another depth forward while Slater is out because this coach is making a mess of things in that bottom-6. Peluso took a penalty on his first shift, and was delivering the puck like an early Holiday present to every Calgary player he met. By the end of the game, Tangradi had moved to that line. But also by the end of the game, that line wasn't playing. 

James Wright had a pretty good game, was positive corsi player and didn't allow a goal while he was killing penalties. But he was 38% in the faceoff circle. 

 

The Jets needed that extra point this month. They end the week against Minnesota and Chicago again - two teams they've yet to beat despite having many opportunities so far this season. It's only a single point, but it speaks just a little too pointedly about the Jets' quality as a team. 

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Kevin is the Managing Editor of Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart or @nhljetsnation
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#1 Robert Cleave
November 18 2013, 10:40PM
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Too much chaos for a game against a bottom feeder. With all the injuries on D, maybe that's not entirely surprising, but it's still not good enough.

As for Scheifele, our good man Tim Bonnar mentioned on Twitter this evening that he's lucky he isn't Russian. I think that's as good an answer as any.

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#3 Robert Cleave
November 18 2013, 11:44PM
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Kevin McCartney wrote:

haha Yeah, he is lucky.

I'm not sure the team is thinking this - he's Cheveldayoff's guy after all - but I think it might be time to swap him and O'Dell for a couple weeks. O'Dell is at a point per game again in the AHL, Scheifele is up and down, but rarely up and down very low.

I've mentioned before that I'd be amenable to sending him down until the roster freeze ends at the deadline, so even as long as until early March might not be the end of the world. A guy picked ahead of him, Strome, is still in the AHL, and I don't hear any panic from the Islanders.

As much as I disliked his selection from the second it happened, the most important thing is to maximize Scheifele's development. If that could happen here, that would be fine, especially since the Jets aren't winning anything this year. The problem is that he's pretty deep in the ditch right now, and the Western Conference is no place to fix what he needs to fix.

The bugger of it is, as you mention, the Jets still need another forward, and that's the case whether Scheifele or O'Dell is on the roster. I doubt it'll happen because he seems like he's one of Noel's guys, but if I were running the show, I'd be trading Stuart as soon as possible to clear some space for another F. You can barely win in the West with 9 good forwards. You surely can't with 7 or 8.

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