February 27 2014 10:26PM
The Jets finally took the ice following a 17-day layoff on Thursday night and took on a Phoenix Coyote team that’s sitting right ahead of them in the standings.
Judging by the way it looked, you would never know it was hyped as one of the “biggest games” of the year. It was a game rattled with poor timing, poor officiating, bad turnovers, and missed opportunities. For 65 minutes this game was nothing more than a display of how awesome Olympic hockey really is, followed up by a surprisingly dramatic shootout.
In the end Olli Jokinen, Devin Setoguchi, and even Ondrej Pavelec showed up when it mattered most, and snagged the Jets the extra point.
The Jets start. Despite some rust, the Jets were able to get on top of the Coyotes possession wise. They seemed better prepared, and could have very likely had a substantial lead heading into the second.
The reappearance of Jim Slater was huge for the fourth line. For the first time in what feels like forever, the fourth line actually out-possessed it’s opponents. Slater played a huge role in that happening. He drove the puck up the ice very well, and helped his entire grouping of misfit toys play a decent overall game.
Blake Wheeler and company. For only the fifth time since Paul Maurice became the head coach of this team, Evander Kane was in the lineup and playing alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. My, oh my did it look pretty. As expected, having the threat of speed on either side of the ice proved to be of huge benefit, as both wingers were able to beat defensemen to the outside and create chances. It was great to see, and I can’t wait to see where this line can go.
Ondrej Pavelec. Listen folks. The guy has his issues. I didn’t like his rebound control throughout the game, and I wasn’t really a huge fan of either goal he gave up. But hey, he did manage to keep the puck out of them net for the most part. I would also be ridiculous to ignore the saves he made throughout the overtime period or the shootout. Pavelec gets a passing grade from me on the night.
The rust. This entire game really made me miss Olympic hockey. I get that the guys are rusty after such a long layoff, but yikes. Guys were slow, passes were sloppy, and as things went on the turnovers and offside calls just kept piling up. It’s not a game that we will see on ESPN Classic anytime soon.
The power play really left something to be desired. Their lone goal came on a pretty brutal turnover, and for the most part they had issues getting into the zone and setting up. I’m willing to chop this game up to the rust. Let’s see if things get any better overall now that Wheeler, Kane and Scheifele are back together.
The officiating. Yikes. I think it’s safe to say that the officiating in this game was pretty subpar. The terrible hooking call on Slater, the missed slashing call against Scheifele that led to the “illegal equipment” call, the missed hit from behind… it was not good. Apparently everybody got a little rusty during the break.
Sum It Up
It was ugly. It was rotten. It smelt like cheese. But hey, it was a win. Take the two points, walk away and get ready for Nashville on Saturday afternoon.