The tank started earlier than normal for the Winnipeg Jets. A Saturday afternoon tilt usually means lacklustre hockey and the Jets played the part to perfection. In a yawner of a game, the Jets lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, thus making the goal of drafting Auston Matthews inch agonizingly closer.
The Jets actually played a decent road period in the first, meaning it was a stiflingly dull opening frame with few scoring chances and plenty of bored spectators.
The Pens changed that early in the second. Two goals in the first 51 seconds of the middle frame broke the game open. Kris Letang and Carl Hagelin did the damage on the scoresheet as the Jets were caught napping, obviously because they were bored by the style they played in the first.
It was almost 3-0 but Michael Hutchinson made a spectacular save, as he dove across the net to rob Sidney Crosby who had an open net, or so he thought.
Shockingly, the Jets used the power play to close the gap as Blake Wheeler tipped home Dustin Byfuglien’s point shot for his team leading 18th goal of the season.
The Jets had some chances early in the third but Marc-Andre Fleury held the fort for Pittsburgh, making some key saves to preserve the lead.
The Pens took advantage of their chances when they arose. Scott Wilson redirected home a Derrick Pouliot point shot to restore the Pens two-goal lead. Hagelin put the icing on the cake, finishing off a gorgeous cross-ice feed from Phil Kessel. It looked nice because the Jet defenders forgot about defensive zone coverage, but that’s another story.
Afternoon Blahs: The Jets aren’t fond of afternoon games. Since arriving from Atlanta in 2011, the Jets are 13-22-7 in game played in daylight hours. Whether it’s because their routine is thrown off-kilter or they’re evening people, the Jets don’t function as well in broad daylight. A mystery that will need to be solved at some point.
Emotionally Spent: After the craziness and drama that was Thursday, the Jets seemed to be worn out and a desperate Pittsburgh team took advantage. This was the Jets first game without Andrew Ladd and the Jets debut of Marko Dano. There will be an adjustment period while the tank rolls on.
Fleury Solid: If the Penguins have any hope of not just maintaining their playoff spot but actually making a run in the spring, Marc-Andre Fleury needs to return to his 2009 form. Fleury was excellent between the pipes for Pittsburgh, stopping 27 out of 28 shots. The Jets did show signs early in the third that they could make life difficult for Pittsburgh but Fleury shut the door until the Pens found their stride.
— Catherine (@hockeymom1965) February 27, 2016
I would rather mute SN, turn on TSN 1290, and hear Beyak’s delayed screams than put up with the inane commentary on SN #NHLJets
— Kristen Suderman (@KLSuderhand) February 27, 2016
Thrash in the house, y’all. The Jets always uncover their inner little brown bird in this particular venue. Just a bit late today.
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) February 27, 2016
This is about as fun as getting speared in the gut. #NHLJets
— Harrison Lee (@HLLivingLoco) February 27, 2016
On the NHL Bingo Card, the #NHLJets are the free space.
— Ryan Blight (@arby_18) February 27, 2016
Charts And Stuff:
All charts courtesy War-On-Ice.com
GIF Of The Night: