The Jets fought hard, but they just can’t score goals.
Tuesday night, TSN Jets TV play-by-play man Dennis Beyak said something that few people would try in NHL12: "Thorburn with the one-timer!!!"
Sorry, being facetious. I don’t want to rip at Chris Thorburn. He’s not the only guy who can’t score. Fact is, the Winnipeg Jets couldn’t score in a women’s prison with a handful of pardons.
Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers shut out the Jets 3-0 to drop Winnipeg to 7-14-4 on the road this season and 3-8-1 overall in January. The Jets went past the .500 mark on Dec. 3. Now, they’re back to .500 at 22-22-6. They have scored only 20 goals in 12-plus (counting overtime) games this month.
They are in a slump.
And they have slumped for the same reason they got off to a slow start this season. They have slumped for the same reason we’ve been harping on the team’s management since the club arrived in Winnipeg from Atlanta: This team can not score goals. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that I know how to do it, but the tall foreheads who run this franchise need to find a couple of goal-scorers.
"I thought we played well," captain Andrew Ladd told TSN Jets TV. "We’re getting sustained pressure on teams, we’re working very hard and getting plenty of chances. We just have to start putting the puck in the net. The effort was there. We have to put some wins together and get back in this race."
Ladd was absolutely right. There was nothing wrong with the Jets effort on Monday or Tuesday night. The Jets lost two games by scores of 2-1 and 3-0, not because they merely went through the motions, but because they worked hard and yet simply couldn’t coax the puck into the opposition’s net.
"I thought we played hard, we were physical, we tried to generate things," said Jets head coach Claude Noel on TSN Jets TV. "We just couldn’t score goals. We’re not a team that finishes. It doesn’t come naturally for us. I thought we had a little trouble generating offence from the back end. I would have liked to have seen more shots. But I thought our effort was good."
Tuesday night the Jets played against a very good New York Rangers team and gave them one heck of a game in their building. The Jets were outshot 31-22, but it’s not like the Winnipegs didn’t have the puck in the Rangers zone for much of the game. Winnipeg skated hard and checked hard and deserved better than a 3-0 loss. Effort was not the issue.
"We’ve hit a dry spell and it’s a little bit frustrating," said Noel. "We’re going to have to take a break and try to regroup when we get back. We have trouble scoring goals. It’s simple. We just have trouble scoring goals.
Now, in fairness, the Jets played without Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane and Alexander Burmistrov. That hurts. And if you listen closely to Noel, there is no guarantee that any of them are coming back soon.
"I don’t know," Noel said when asked by Tim Campbell of the Free Press about the status of the injuries. "Byfuglien hasn’t skated with us yet. I don’t know about Kane. We’ll get back on track here with our injuries. We have hope. So don’t lose hope. During the (all-star) break, we’re going to try and repair our injuries and get better. Don’t lose hope."
Winnipeg fans will not lose hope. They wouldn’t mind seeing a few goals, though.