JN Recap – Jets Do The Impossible; Win Third Game In A Row

Holy crap, they actually did it!

The Winnipeg Jets have finally won a third game in a row defeating the Dallas Stars in Dallas by a score of 4-3.

It was done in maybe the most excruciating way possible, but a win is a win right?

GAME THOUGHTS

Thankfully goal scoring hasn’t been an issue at all. Granted the Jets have spent the last couple of games against teams that have questionable goaltending, but the top two lines of Ehlers and Laine with Little, and Wheeler and Copp with Scheifele have been fantastic and accounted for all the scoring tonight. If anything, Scheifele should have had three goals, but one had been called back due to Wheeler being offside by about the width of a skate boot.

It would be nice to see the bottom six forwards chip in as well with some offense. Petan and the returning Perreault seemed to have some good chemistry together, so here is hoping Matty P can stay healthy enough to really gel and form a solid third line. I actually thought the Perreault line was quite good tonight. Didn’t get much in terms of offense, but didn’t give much up defensively either.

Less than ideal way for the Jets to close it out in the third. Sure an unfortunate call to start the third period put them on their heels, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, the Jets got away lucky at the end with the Stars out-shooting the Jets 14-3 in the final frame and coming within inches of getting the game tied with a loose puck drifting wide left in a game ending scramble. The Jets inability to get out of their own zone reared it’s ugly head repeatedly, and when the Jets did manage to get the puck out of their zone, they were content to gain the red line and dump it in.

Maybe it was a case of a team not wanting to make a critical mistake, maybe because they were on the road they wanted to play it as safe as possible, but when you have a goalie like Kari Lehtonen who clearly was fighting the puck most of the night, trusting your guys to carry the puck in and get a few more shots on him would have been ideal.

The problem is the Jets defense isn’t much better than their goaltending and it too is benefiting from a hot offense covering up many blemishes. It’s the usual stuff from the defense.. Bad zone exits, guys blowing coverage assignments. Sometimes it’s worth wondering if they even communicate with each other on the ice and call out who they are covering since we see both defensemen sometimes drifting off to the same corner to cover a puck carrier.

One can’t state just how much the Jets offense is covering up so much ugliness this team is dealing with, which I know is a bit of a Debbie Downer thing to say during the team’s first three game win streak, but it’s best we realize just what this Jets team is.

Which brings us to the goaltending and sicne it would appear as though Ondrej Pavelec is the man for now, let’s talk about him to close things up..

Before the 3rd period, he had an .893 save percentage (25 saves on 28 shots) and you can spin it however you want but the fact is that’s simply below average NHL goaltending. He gave up some awful rebounds directly onto the sticks of opposing Stars players – in fact all three Stars goals came off rebounds from about five feet in front of the net – a handful of his saves he made saw him looking behind him to make sure nothing actually got through. He’s doing the job, but barely and he’s benefiting from the fact the Jets top two lines seem to be scoring at will.

It’s entirely reasonable to give him some credit for this win streak – his save on Jamie Benn in the second after Benn forced a Laine turnover was absolutely huge and allowing a goal to give the Stars the lead there would have been soul crushing – but you can also point out how fortunate he’s been in this run (Jamie Benn beating him clean but ringing it off the cross bar with five minutes left in the game) as well and that too would be correct.

Our message to the Pavelec supporters and the fans who wonder why the other half of Jets fandom whines about #PAV3LEC and his ability to always give up three goals in a game, is to just live with it until Pavelec displays the ability to steal an entire game, and not just come up with the odd “timely save.”

YOUR HOT TAEKS

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Charts Courtesy of HockeyStats.ca