Tortorella and Statler must get along great.
This game was so high-octane, it was tiring to watch.
TSN announcers Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro commented multiple times on how few whistles there were, counting only 11 in the second period alone (two were from goals).
Both teams spent the game trading chances, though it was the Jets who had the best of them. Other than an early weak goal from Bogosian, Canucks back-up Eddie Lack was scintillating, making a handful of magnificient saves to keep the score close. Pavelec didn’t have to be as sharp – and in fact wasn’t – but it didn’t matter in the end.
Vancouver’s play has plummeted recently, both due to injuries, some controversial physical games in an attempt to unsuccessfully recreate their identity, and a departure from their former cycling, zone conscious offensive style under new coach John Tortorella. Though we are well past the season’s midway point, Canucks forwards were completely lost in their positioning – similar to the probem Winnipeg had against Nashville this past week.
This is not to take anything away from the Jets, however. Building on the aforementioned loss to the Predators, most of the team was much more conscious of of their roles in all situations. The Jets have the potential to strike fast all throughout their top nine forwards now, and tonight featured a display of their newfound depth.
Devin Setoguchi scored his second and third goals in 28 games, and he earned them. The first was finishing a beautiful passing play by Scheifele and Byfuglien, while the second was the timely game winner with less than three minutes of regulation time left. Setoguchi was very physical all game, and didn’t look at all out of place with the game’s uptempo pace.
Scheifele and Wheeler played very well together again – even more impressive in the absence of Evander Kane. They move the puck to each other with such deceptive skill, it looks easy. It definitely isn’t.
Toby Enstrom continues to be this team’s anchor defensively. Bogosian has his moments, but in terms of consistency, Enstrom is the man. There was a play in the second period where Enstrom raced after the puck against Canucks fourth liner Kellan lane in the Jets end, and Enstrom was able to get there first, take a crushing body check, and still knock the puck loose to Bogosian. He’s got poise up the wazoo.
Jacob Trouba was very noticeable this game. He played very well in the offensive end, often quarterbacking even strength plays, and finished the game with an assist on Setoguchi’s game winner. Unfortunately, it was also very visible when Trouba got caught, and he did a lot tonight. Trouba had trouble breaking the puck out of end, and left Stuart alone numerous times on the backcheck after going on a rush. Mark Stuart is not the guy you want defending the 2-on-1 you caused.
This game was extremely fun to watch. The Canucks are in no way the team they’ve been over the past three seasons, but their top guys are formidable no matter what. Vancouver has won the President’s Trophy in two of the past three seasons, and the Jets thoroughly dominated them tonight.
On to Montreal!