In a matinee on Hockey Night in Canada, the Winnipeg Jets jumped out (as usual) to an early lead at home, and withstood a couple of late technical glitches, including one by CBC, hanging on for a 6-4 win over the Flyers. They now have a 2-0 record over Philadelphia, with a goals for/against record of 15-12. They’ve run their win streak to three, out-scoring their opponents 15-7 in that span.
-Remember the last time these two teams met? (Yes) But other than us remembering that the Jets had a 9-8 win on a late goal, how many of us remember that Winnipeg had a 5-1 lead early on? The same sort of thing happened here, and, right at the end of the second period, the score could have been 5-3 on a Harry Zoliniercyzk (I just wanted to write that name at least once) shot that beat Ondrej Pavelec but crossed the line a split-second late. Matt Read scored a pair in the third despite the Jets killing a couple of penalties, but, man, that game seemed a bit closer than it had to be.
-Ondrej Pavelec had three consecutive quality starts (games with a .913 save percentage or better, or 2 goals or fewer with a save percentage of .885 or better) coming into this one, a trend that definitely reversed against Philly. Most of his success has come on the back of his penalty kill play, which, while entertaining, was pretty unsustainable. He allowed two powerplay goals and otherwise stopped 27 of 31 shots, but I thought he made a number of mistakes, letting out rebounds, and generally looking pretty nervous. He certainly wasn’t as bad as Sergei Bobrovsky.
-Those two Bryan Little goals in the first period are exactly why we track shooting percentage. Little couldn’t have had an easier tap in after Dustin Byfuglien set him up with a great shot off of Bobrovsky’s pad to force the rebound. His second goal was a total fluke, going right through Bobrovsky’s chicken wing on a very weak wrist shot. Those are the lucky bounces you get when your shooting percentage is a bit higher. Not to say that Little didn’t have a good game, or deserve those goals, but the bounces went in his favour today, like they hadn’t before, and his shot percentage went from 5.4% to 10%, just like that.
-Byfuglien, despite his powerplay presence and three points, had one of his weaker games as a Jet. He had just three shots and six attempts, but was a minus-12 Corsi rating, meaning that 12 more pucks were directed at Pavelec than Bobrovsky when Big Buff was on the ice. He wasn’t facing explicitly tough competition (Mostly Zolniercyzk or Wayne Simmonds) and had a lot of starts in the offensive zone, so he wasn’t at all playing good defense, as usual. What changed is that at even strength he was pretty awful offensively, with the Jets taking a single shot when he was on the ice. That’s rare.
-Johnny Oduya and Zach Bogosian both had strong games, however. They really kept the play moving in the right direction and saw the most time against Philly’s top line. It’s nice to see that after Oduya’s early season struggles. Bogosian also contributed quite well offensively, with a pair of shots in five attempts. I wonder if maybe he’ll earn himself a couple of goals over the next month or so, because his play has picked up, and, as we saw with Little, the more you play in the offensive zone, the more likely you are to get a positive bounce.
-Evander Kane had a wild afternoon. An assist, seven shots on net and three minor penalties. That’s some sort of hat-trick in a weird way. I liked his effort in the last few games but he took it a little far today. Jim Slater, on the other hand, played a very good defensive game as he has been throughout the year, checking Philly’s top line, and capitalizing on a Chris Pronger turnover for the shorthanded marker that would have stood up as the game-winner in some other universe.