The model of inconsistency lived on Friday night, as a flurry of early goals ultimately led to a shut out win for Ondrej Pavelec and company.
The Jets benefitted early and often on a suddenly leaky Cater Hutton on Friday night, scoring three goals on eight shots and chasing the goaltender less than nine minutes into the game. The Jets weren’t exactly dominant following their early 3-0 lead, as their were both badly outshot and chanced following (hello score effects?), but Ondrej Pavelec stood tall, earning his first shut out since March 2012.
Well, Carter Hutton finally looked like an inexperienced backup goaltender against the Jets. Eight games into his NHL career, Hutton had already looked fantastic against the Jets twice this year, but looked far from it tonight. It seemed as if the Jets learnt early that Hutton didn’t have it on the night, and started throwing everything at him, scoring three goals in little over five minutes following this weak one:
To my eye, Buff had a pretty solid game. I’m still not convinced that Tangradi touched that puck on the Jets third goal, but he also made a few solid defensive plays on top of his offensive ability. His reaction following what he believed to be his goal signified just how much his offensive slump has been bothering him, leading me more to believe that his recent lapses defensively have been due to his desire to contribute more.
I thought Eric Tangradi had another solid game. Although I have my doubts that he actually touched it, he did well t pressure the Nashville player and create a turnover that ultimatley led to the goal. He seems to make up for the Thorburn effect on that fourth line pretty well, which really cannot be an easy task.
The penalty kill may have given up 12 shots, but they managed to shut the door on four opportunities. Usually you need your goaltender to be your best penalty killer, and he was just that all night.
Ondrej Pavelec had his best game in a long, long time. Once the Jets built up their lead, a shorthanded Nashville team did everything in their power to generate offense. They were actually quite successful as well, as they drastically out chanced the Jets from the second period onward. Ondrej truly stepped though; making a plethora of solid positional and predictive saves. I’m not sure if it has been the enhanced practice as of late, increased film watching, or the fear of truly losing his job to a goaltender of equal skill, but Pavelec prevented any chance of a comeback and really played well. I think the chanting of his name was a little extreme, but props to him on the night.
Say what you will about the early lead and the goals that went in, I do have to again give credit for the Jets being able to pounce on the opportunity they were provided. They managed eight shots in eight minutes, and started getting pucks to the front of the net a lot more often as soon as they saw Hutton was off his game. They forced a Nashville team that normally (not so much lately, but still) has issues scoring, to have to score a lot.
Whoever has been sharpening the Jets skates really needs to get it together. A couple nights ago it was Byfuglien who couldn’t keep an edge, and tonight Bogosian, Clitsome and Scheifele all had moments that saw their feet simply come out from under them.
Once the Jets built up their lead, they did as many teams do and went into defensive mode. Although I don’t have a problem necessarily with being outshot, I do have a problem with the Jets looking like they wanted to make it a game. Turnovers and bad breakdowns led to multiple chances for the Preds, which on many nights would have resulted in a potential comeback.
The Jets power play was once again a dud, managing a mere three shots on three opportunities.
Not sure if this is necessarily a “bad” thing, but I think tonight was probably Pardy’s worst game thus far. Yes, he did dominate a fight, but I saw a few breakdowns that I didn’t particularly enjoy.
All in all, I think the Jets were fortunate early, and desperately hung on with all their might for the rest of the game. They benefitted from a rare occurrence of above average goaltending, and gave fans another rise on this rollercoaster of a season.