Game 42 vs Buffalo: Neutral Zone Play and Montoya Performance

Travis Hrubeniuk
January 02 2014 10:04AM

The Jets has a rather poor game in the neutral zone on Tuesday night, but were lucky enough to be playing the Sabres, who were even worse.  The Jets were still far too skilled to lose against a completely pitiful team from Buffalo.

Zone Entries

5 vs 5

Player

# of successful entries

Shots (From Entries)

Shots/Entry

Controlled Entries

Shots (From Controlled)

Shots/ Controlled

% With Control

5

Stuart

1

1

1.00

1

1

1.00

100%

7

Ellerby

1

0

0.00

0

0

N/A

0%

8

Trouba

1

0

0.00

0

0

N/A

0%

9

Kane

10

3

0.30

5

2

0.40

50%

12

Jokinen

1

0

0.00

1

0

0.00

100%

14

Peluso

3

1

0.33

1

1

1.00

33%

16

Ladd

3

1

0.33

1

1

1.00

33%

17

Wright

2

0

0.00

2

0

0.00

100%

18

Little

3

1

0.33

1

1

1.00

33%

22

Thorburn

1

1

1.00

1

1

1.00

100%

26

Wheeler

8

2

0.25

4

0

0.00

50%

27

Tangradi

2

0

0.00

0

0

N/A

0%

33

Byfuglien

7

2

0.29

3

1

0.33

43%

39

Enstrom

2

2

1.00

0

0

N/A

0%

40

Setoguchi

7

2

0.29

3

1

0.33

43%

44

Bogosian

5

2

0.40

1

0

0.00

20%

55

Scheifele

4

1

0.25

4

1

0.25

100%

67

Frolik

4

2

0.50

2

2

1.00

50%

 

JETS

65

21

0.32

30

12

0.40

46%

 

OPP

64

25

0.39

23

10

0.43

36%

 

OZF

12

5

0.42

       
 

DZF

10

4

0.40

       

Observations

  • These are just ugly numbers. Like, ridiculously ugly. Less than 50% of the entries were controlled. Shots per controlled entries were low, and shots per all entries were just pitiful. Yet somehow, the Sabres managed to be pretty horrible themselves.
  • There really aren’t any great individual performances to key on from this game, but the KSF line was one that did alright as a whole. They have been playing against easier opponents lately (as they should be), and have been able to take advantage of it. This needs to continue, and hopefully this means their success will as well.
  • I think the play in the neutral zone reflects how the game went overall on New Years Eve. It was ugly, the Jets didn’t really play well, both teams got some good goaltending, and at the end of the day the team with more overall skill won. If the Jets were going to put a stinker up, they managed to do so against the perfect opponent.

Montoya Performance

Al Montoya was solid against the Sabres. Obviously Buffalo was limited in their opportunities and is not exactly the most threatening squad, but Monty did well to shut down anything that started to develop. As a whole, I like his game a lot more than I like Pavelec’s. He helps his defensemen out with his puck moving abilities, he is much better in his positioning and movement, reads the play better, and his demeanor is much better suited for a team that has the occasional lapse.

Montoya will get the start tonight against the Senators, and should continue playing until the back to back this weekend. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; he deserves the chance to run with the starting position.

Things to Watch For

The Jets face off against the under-achieving Ottawa Senators tonight, as they look to go on their second four-game winning streak of the season. Here are a few things to watch for heading into the nation’s capital:

  1. Will a chip on the shoulder have results on the ice? Both the Jets Dustin Byfuglien and the Sens Bobby Ryan were left off of the American’s Olympic team for some rather questionable reasons. Both are likely a little angry about this, and should have something to prove going forward. This being their first games since the announcement, I’m curious as to how their anger will translate.
  2. Will The Jets power play be a big factor? Ottawa’s penalty kill is ranked 23rd in the league with a 79.5% kill rate. Winnipeg’s PP has been a very effective unit lately, and was able to generate a plethora of chances against Buffalo. If Ottawa gets in some penalty trouble tonight and the Jets play at the same level they have been, they should be able to take advantage.
  3. How many times will Beyak reference the fact that both teams are in 11th of their respective conferences? We all know how much Dennis Beyak loves to point out useless facts in regards to players positions, their role as captains, or how many games they have played. I’m going to say he points out that both teams are in 11th at least 5 times throughout the broadcast.

Final Thought

Although Dustin Byfuglien was left off of team USA, Blake Wheeler was selected to represent his country in Sochi. Following the tear he was on throughout the month of December, I think he was just too good for the Americans to pass up. I’m of the group though that believes he provides a lot more than just goal scoring (he actually leads the new born Jets in points since the relocation). I think he’s been a solid two-way player for the Jets, and his size and speed will likely be of great value on the larger ice surface that will be used in the Olympics. At least now I have a good reason to watch the Americans play throughout the Olympic tournament. Congrats Blake.

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I write things, you read them. Then tend to yell at me for them. It's okay though, I'm from Winnipeg. I can take it. If you actually do like what I write, give me a twitter follow here (@thrubeniuk): https://twitter.com/thrubeniuk
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#1 X
January 02 2014, 12:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

This sort of game against Ottawa will probably be a problem, they are one of the better scoring teams in the NHL this season after not being able to score last year and receiving the same sort of not-very-good goaltending the Jets have enjoyed. (On the whole the two teams seem quite similar in fact.) Everyone is so excited about the 3rd win, I am pretty nervous about how a poor effort is being hidden by the scoresheet.

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