Game 77 @ Phoenix: Scoring Chances & Observations

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Chart via Extraskater.com

Coming off of one of the most epic collapses in Jets 2.0
history, the Jets faced a Phoenix team that had the opportunity to
mathematically knock them out of playoff position.  Yet somehow, with the odds stacked against
them, the Jets pulled through and left the desert with a shootout win.

Scoring Chances

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Observations

The Jets came out angry and played well in the first period,
but it was pretty evident as the game carried on that they were running out of
gas.  Outside of a couple spurts here and
there, and a barrage of chances in the span of a minute and a half in the
third, the Coyotes really controlled things for the final 45 minutes of the
game.  Ultimately, the Jets were pretty
fortunate to escape Phoenix with two points.

I find this whole “Evander Kane could be a good trade piece”
talk kind of hilarious.  Especially when
you consider the timing.  I think he’s
played pretty darn well lately despite being with a rookie in O’Dell (who has
played well), and guys like Setoguchi and Halischuk.  This game alone, his line was one of the few
to be in the positive count for scoring chances, and he was only one of four
players to finish with a 50% or above Corsi-For percentage.

Is it disappointing that he hasn’t put up crazy goal totals
this year? Sure. Is it easily explainable? Definitely.  First of all, he is among the leaders on the
team in primary assists 5 on 5. (So selfish, right?) He’s not “disappearing”
completely.  He’s been forced to do other
things.  His shooting percentage is about
2% lower than his usual, which is likely to bounce back up next season.  He has played against some of the hardest
competition in his career, and he is starting in the defensive zone more
often.  Not too mention he has often
played with the wrong line mates (guys who he statistically performs his worst
with) for a large portion of this season. 
Could trading him be beneficial? Possibly. Is selling low on a guy who
is very likely to bounce back big a good idea? Not at all.

Personally, I’m shocked the Blake Wheeler doesn’t have
serious back problems yet.  He’s been
carrying Dustin Byfuglien and Olli Jokinen for so long, something’s eventually
going to give out.  Here’s a crazy
thought. Why not try a Kane – O’Dell – Wheeler line? Amazing speed and skill
outside, with a guy who shown an ability to move the puck well and is willing
to crash the net up the middle.  Seems
almost too obvious, doesn’t it?  Maybe
that’ll help relieve some of the insane pressure being felt by Ladd – Little –
Frolik right now.

The defensemen were a pretty curious bunch in this
game.  Stuart and Trouba were the only
positive possession guys, but I thought Stuart really messed up on the Coyotes
goal and I didn’t think Redmond looked as terrible as his numbers show.  I’m very concerned about the defense group
going forward.  It seems that Paul
Maurice has bought into Mark Stuart being a top guy, and I’m not sure what it
will take to convince him otherwise.  I
think the Jets need to look for a top end defenseman this offseason, and if
they buy into Stuart playing that role…yikes. 
I really hope he doesn’t end up holding Trouba back from reaching his
full potential.

Final Thought

The Jets are still mathematically alive in the playoff race,
and come home to face the suddenly slumping Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday
night.  If you’re still holding onto
hope, that’s cute, but Winnipeg out doesn’t even raise the Jets playoff odds
above 1%. I want to see some experimentation soon. Fresh lines, new defensive
pairings, and please get Hutchinson into a game. Please?   

 

  

  • Travis Hrubeniuk

    I think it is terrible that you are suggesting any changes to this roster. It is “perfect” just the way it is. Nor does it serve any purpose to see any of the younger players now that the season is over. Why there isn’t a lot more youngsters here is beyond me. These guys haven’t delivered.

    Kane being traded is laughable. Play him with a number one center for a season and see what he can do….then you can make a reasonable decision.

  • Travis Hrubeniuk

    I think sarcasm on that first bit?

    But I honestly think the team as a whole isn’t THAT far off. Improved goaltending and another top-4 D guy would go a long way. Up front they need to find more depth. If O’Dell can fill a role, great. But Halischuk playing with Kane is laughable.

  • What Am I, A Doctor?

    Whenever I see a post where some yahoo says Kane never passes, I automatically think “moron.” Can’t help it, it just happens. Usually Kane dishes out an assist within minutes. My brain produces the same reaction when someone says Pavelec is a great goalie. You can then safely bet that within seconds a weak one will get by him. Of course, you can pretty much safely make that same bet even if the moron says nothing.

  • What Am I, A Doctor?

    A failed attempt at humour. I think the team has some pieces in place and agree that goaltending and a top 4 D would help. Unless Stuart is considered to be that top 4 guy…which he isn’t.

    I tend to think there is a fair bit of fodder on the team…guys that take up space but are not really NHL players. This holds true for most if not all of the waiver wire pickups. They are taking roster spots that could be filled with players that have a bit of upside.