The Jets came out strong and fought off adversity against a strong team in the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Jets managed to out shoot and out-Corsi a team that ranked second in the league in Corsi-For % coming into this game. It ranks among one of the biggest wins for the Jets this season, and will surely bring confidence into a dressing room that desperately needed some.
The Jets started the game knowingly what they had to do. They heavily out-possessed, and outshot the Sharks for the majority of the first period, and with less than five minutes left in the period were leading the chance count 3-0. After a lull to end the period and a few minutes into the second, they got back to it and ultimately had a lot of control throughout the game.
I have been begging for a while now for the Jets defensive group to start getting more engaged through the neutral zone to drive play and create offense. Byfuglien had been showing little bits and pieces in the last few games, but tonight we finally saw the entire group taking their fair share of rushes. And guess what? It worked. Not only did both Byfuglien and Clitsome have goals, but also guys like Enstrom, Pardy and Bogosian were helping to create plays and chances throughout the night.
This might be a bit of a reach, but the Jets power play wasn’t exactly abysmal on the night. On only one real power play opportunity, the Jets managed to create a couple chances. When your power play is usually a huge momentum-killer, I take it as a positive when it can help create a little energy. You saw from San Jose tonight what a good power play will do. They get bodies in front, bodies are always moving, the puck is always moving, and you get the penalty kill unit chasing the play. Learn from it boys.
He may not have had the best game overall, but Pavelec was able to make a couple key saves throughout the contest. He had a couple breakaway/odd man rush saves at times that would have really deflated the team, and was able to bounce back from a 2 goals on 4 shots beginning. I’m hard on the guy, but he has been okay in my books in the last two games.
Andrew Ladd has been an absolute shootout stud. Dating back to last year, he has consistently come through in the extra fun competition when the Jets have needed him two, and he did so again tonight.
My jaw dropped when Scheifele made this move:
Although I did like how the defensive group was engaging in the play more, there were a few decisions I wasn’t necessarily a fan of. There were a couple pinches and a few clearing attempts that left me scratching my head and resulted in goals or chances against. Byfuglien’s choice to stay along the wall was one example, and this hit attempt by Enstrom was another:
Finding that balance between providing offense while making the smart decision will be key moving forward. Enstrom is usually very good at this, but the rest of the group needs to perfect the skill.
I wasn’t really happy with how the Jets responded once they had fallen down 2-0. It’s almost like the instantaneously forgot how well they had been playing up to that point, and were almost ready to accept defeat. It wasn’t really until the Michael Frolik goal 6 minutes into the second that they got that spark back and really started pushing back hard. All in all everything worked out, but things could have gotten ugly pretty fast.
The Jets took too many bad penalties on the night. Although I didn’t agree with all the calls, they cannot put themselves in those kind of situations so often. Despite how well the penalty kill has played throughout the year, you simply cannot give a team like the Sharks six power plays. Especially when so many of them came from calls and occurrences 200 feet away from the Jets net.
Taking It Home
Consistency with play like this is where the Jets need to go next. They are 3-1 in their last four and giving fans a glimmer of hope on the season. I still have my doubts with this team, but nights like tonight show everyone what this team might be able to do. They just need to do it more often.