He Fro-likie that one (…’cause he just scored).
The game started off on the wrong foot for the Jets.
Less than one minute into the first period, Blake Wheeler attempted to receive a careening pass from around the boards in his own zone – except it hit the wrong foot and took a ridiculous bounce right in front of Pavelec. Byfuglien was able to poke the loose puck away from Steve Downie, but unfortunately it landed right on Scott Hartnell’s stick who quickly made it 1-0 Flyers.
The Jets were lucky to escape the first period down only one goal. Pavelec stood on his head, making twelve stops – one of which was a Sean Couturier breakaway. The Flyers had too much speed for the Jets, forcing Winnipeg to take four of their five minor penalties in the first frame. The Flyers (and Couturier in particular) weren’t giving the Jets any room, and outshot them 12-2.
Suddenly in the second period with two men in the penalty box, the Jets woke up. After killing off the 5-on-3 that carried over from the first, Jokinen – who had already took two penalties himself – drew an interference call on Andrej Meszaros and put the Jets a man up. Unfortunately, as he did all game, Couturier was able to outspeed and outmuscle the Jets defence and score on a shorthanded breakaway. Pavelec bit on Couturier faking the same move from his first period shorthanded breakwaway, and Courturier sent it the other way to make it 2-0. The Jets started to match the Flyers speed from the first, but couldn’t get anything past Mason.
The Jets tilted the ice even more in their favour in the third, but the Flyers were able to keep much of the play in the neutral zone. Frolik scored on a scrambled, broken play right in front of the Flyers net, but that’s all the Jets could muster. After some last minute pressure, time expired to end Winnipeg’s winning streak at two games.
Though they were very much in the game by the final twenty minutes, this was a borderline disastrous game for the Jets. Evander Kane took an innocent looking bump from Braydon Coburn in the first and didn’t come back. The Flyers had a distinct advantage in faceoffs and shots. The Jets’ PP went 0-6, dropping to 0-12 in the last four games
Devin Setoguchi was easily the best Jets forward. The Flyers defence continually underestimated his speed and strength and gave him open ice all night. Setoguchi made a few tape-to-tape passes on odd man rushes that almost resulted in goals for Little and Scheifele. Claude Noel promoted Setoguchi to the first line with Ladd and Little late in the third.
Jacob Trouba had a strong game. Though he still regularly makes bad decisions under pressure in his own zone, Trouba can usually use his exceptional skating ability to speed out of it.
He didn’t see a ton of shots, but Pavelec kept the Jets in it with his first period play. Pavelec tracked the puck well all game, and his only real mistake came on the aforementioned Couturier goal.
Coach Noel lost the line matching game badly to Flyers coach Craig Berube. Within the first ten minutes, the Jets fourth line was caught stuck in their own zone by the Flyers top line twice. It happened a few other times during the game too.
The Jets defence gave the Flyers forwards all kinds of room at the Winnipeg blueline. Philadelphia gained the Jets zone at will and rarely had to dump-and-chase. The Jets eventually adjusted to the Flyers’ speed from the first period, but never adjusted their blueline play and are lucky it didn’t cost them more than it did.
The powerplay was unable to even gain the Flyers zone for the first half of the game. The Jets looked threatening on a couple man advantages late in the third, but they couldn’t penetrate middle ice with passes or shots. The Flyers aggressively kept the the Jets to the outside and Winnipeg didn’t have an answer. Oh, and also, they got scored on.
Evander Kane’s injury. No word on the severity yet, but this could be bad, bad news. Kane was just starting to get going after a slow start to the season. The Kane-Jokinen-Setoguchi line was the only one that showed life for the Jets in the first, minus Jokinen.
The Jets are off for the weekend before taking on the Rangers Monday night. The Rangers, like the Flyers, are starting to find their groove after a rocky start to the season. The difference? The Rangers are way better than the Flyers. Winnipeg will have to get all four lines going like they eventually did against the Islanders on Wednesday or they’ll be playing catch-up early again.