April 02 2014 10:39PM
Chart via Extraskater.com
Coming off of one of the most epic collapses in Jets 2.0 history, the Jets faced a Phoenix team that had the opportunity to mathematically knock them out of playoff position. Yet somehow, with the odds stacked against them, the Jets pulled through and left the desert with a shootout win.
The Jets came out angry and played well in the first period, but it was pretty evident as the game carried on that they were running out of gas. Outside of a couple spurts here and there, and a barrage of chances in the span of a minute and a half in the third, the Coyotes really controlled things for the final 45 minutes of the game. Ultimately, the Jets were pretty fortunate to escape Phoenix with two points.
I find this whole “Evander Kane could be a good trade piece” talk kind of hilarious. Especially when you consider the timing. I think he’s played pretty darn well lately despite being with a rookie in O’Dell (who has played well), and guys like Setoguchi and Halischuk. This game alone, his line was one of the few to be in the positive count for scoring chances, and he was only one of four players to finish with a 50% or above Corsi-For percentage.
Is it disappointing that he hasn’t put up crazy goal totals this year? Sure. Is it easily explainable? Definitely. First of all, he is among the leaders on the team in primary assists 5 on 5. (So selfish, right?) He’s not “disappearing” completely. He’s been forced to do other things. His shooting percentage is about 2% lower than his usual, which is likely to bounce back up next season. He has played against some of the hardest competition in his career, and he is starting in the defensive zone more often. Not too mention he has often played with the wrong line mates (guys who he statistically performs his worst with) for a large portion of this season. Could trading him be beneficial? Possibly. Is selling low on a guy who is very likely to bounce back big a good idea? Not at all.
Personally, I’m shocked the Blake Wheeler doesn’t have serious back problems yet. He’s been carrying Dustin Byfuglien and Olli Jokinen for so long, something’s eventually going to give out. Here’s a crazy thought. Why not try a Kane – O’Dell – Wheeler line? Amazing speed and skill outside, with a guy who shown an ability to move the puck well and is willing to crash the net up the middle. Seems almost too obvious, doesn’t it? Maybe that’ll help relieve some of the insane pressure being felt by Ladd – Little – Frolik right now.
The defensemen were a pretty curious bunch in this game. Stuart and Trouba were the only positive possession guys, but I thought Stuart really messed up on the Coyotes goal and I didn’t think Redmond looked as terrible as his numbers show. I’m very concerned about the defense group going forward. It seems that Paul Maurice has bought into Mark Stuart being a top guy, and I’m not sure what it will take to convince him otherwise. I think the Jets need to look for a top end defenseman this offseason, and if they buy into Stuart playing that role…yikes. I really hope he doesn’t end up holding Trouba back from reaching his full potential.
The Jets are still mathematically alive in the playoff race, and come home to face the suddenly slumping Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. If you’re still holding onto hope, that’s cute, but Winnipeg out doesn’t even raise the Jets playoff odds above 1%. I want to see some experimentation soon. Fresh lines, new defensive pairings, and please get Hutchinson into a game. Please?