"Get lost, Bryan."
With their scorching of the Flames Thursday night, the Jets have now scored an astounding 10 goals in their last 2 games.
Now, I may be speculating a bit too soon here, but that makes Paul Maurice the greatest coach in Winnipeg Jets history.
Of course, it’s still hard to gauge Maurice’s impact on the ice (though he may be making waves off-ice). The new coach has only been able to hold a couple practices since stepping into the captain’s chair this past Sunday, but the squad already looks more motivated in-game than they have all season.
Despite the high score, this was a sporadically exciting game. Both teams were so scrambly with the puck one has to assume there may have been a problem with the ice (or maybe it’s that neither team is very strong, who knows). The second period featured only a combined 9 shots by both sides, and other than a nice powerplay goal by Jokinen, neither team looked particularly strong on special teams. Much of this game was spent in the corners.
Though the game was a wee mucky, every Jet line had their moments. The Little line started off the scoring, and remained a threat throughout the game. The Jokinen line found themselves in trouble occasionally, but had several extended shifts hemming and confusing the Flames in their own zone. Chris Thorburn looked like a mildy-concussed Pavel Datsyuk, dangling around Smid in the first, and finishing with 2 points (along with linemates Scheifele and Wheeler). Even the fourth line seemed to spend the majority of their time in the offensive zone.
That being said, the Calgary Flames are not good.
The aforementioned Thorburn-Scheifele-Wheeler line played well, amassing 6 points between the three of them. Scheifele had a rare jump to his game, and took turns with Wheeler leading the rush. Wheeler did what he did best all game, constantly disappearing from his opponent’s view, only to pop up in a dangerous area when the puck was near. Thorburn’s 2 points were both secondary assists, but his chip pass to Wheeler on the Scheifele goal was impressive.
Michael Frolik is growing into one of Winnipeg’s most important players. After spending the first half of the season playing a defensive role, his recent promotion to the first line has allowed Frolik to stretch out his wings, so to speak. Frolik has a great sense of when to pass and when to keep. His assist on the Little goal was a great display of Frolik’s hockey sense, throwing the puck in Reto Berra’s feet to create a rebound.
Ondrej Pavelec only faced 22 shots, but came up with a handful of key saves in the third period. The goals against Pavelec were a deflection and an insane far-top corner wrist shot through traffic from captain Mark Giordano. Pavelec did a good job of tracking the puck and getting set early.
Mark Stuart seemed to have some trouble keeping up with the game’s pace, which isn’t good because it was quite slow. Traditionally, a stay-at-home defenceman like Stuart is a good pairing for an offensive puck-mover like Trouba, but Stuart always seems a step behind the play. Trouba (and rookie defencemen in general) needs his partner to bail him out as he gains experience, and Stuart should not be that guy.
I know he had 2 points, but I am still not impressed with Olli Jokinen. There’s no doubt the veteran centre is a skilled player, but he appears lazy. Too many times this season have I watched Jokinen see a loose puck and make the decision to let one of his linemates go after it. Those kinds of effort (or lack thereof) will be harder to miss when the Jets aren’t playing the lowly Calgary Flames.
STAR OF THE NIGHT
Those two guys in the crowd who were kicked out of the game for fighting in the third.