This was a no-win situation for the Winnipeg Jets from the start.
Given the kind of lineup the Jets dressed – a lineup full of NHL vets and regulars – and given the kind of lineup the Edmonton Oilers dressed – that of a few regulars and a bunch more AHL level talent, there was no way the Jets were going to come out of this looking truly great.
A win for the Jets and there would have been a lot of “well sure, that’s the result any of us should expect” whereas a loss would have brought on an avalanche of questions and doubt from fans who are expecting so much but dreading the worst because we are after all fans of a Winnipeg team and that’s just what fans of a Winnipeg team need to do.
It's only the second preseason game.. It's only the second preseason game.. It's only the second preseason game.. It's only the second prese
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) September 21, 2017
*takes deep breath*
Let’s get into the takeaways…
1 – That Second Period… What The Heck Was THAT?!
After a pretty solid first period where the Jets out-shot the Oilers 11-4 and were leading 1-0, things felt like they were going exactly how they should be. The Jets were out-skating the Oilers, they were clearly the more talented team… Life was good.
Then that second period happened.
I don’t even know where to begin explaining how bad that period was and how concerning it should be to Jets fans. Yes, it’s only the second preseason game, yes it’s a “meaningless game” but the Jets as an entire team seemed to stop putting out any effort and let a team with less talent beat them with a higher work eithic. The penalty kill remains an issue if the first Oilers goal is any indication where a cross ice pass found a wide open Mark Letestu. The second goal against came right after it and was a result of Sami Niku working himself into an Oilers double-team along the boards and Dustin Byfuglien giving a half-heart’ed effort to try and stop anything from developing in front of the net.
The Oilers next goal which again was a result of busted defensive coverage by Byfuglien, was waved off due to a “kicking motion”, but I think if replays were actually a thing in preseason, it would have been ruled a good goal. The Oilers legit third goal happened again on a cross-ice pass that bounced off the skate of Jussi Jokinen after he got past Josh Morrissey and rushed the net.
The Jets did get their act together in the last five minutes of the period, but the damage was already done.
2 – They Got Shots, But Were They Good Shots?
This is a heat map of unblocked shots when the teams were playing 5 on 5. Look over on the “Jets attempts” side of things.. Now look at the slot area in front of the net/crease..
See any color in that area? No, you don’t, and that’s a big issue. Even for a second game of a preseason, there should at least be something in that part of the ice.
You can have all kinds of shot attempts in a game, but if they are repeatedly from distance like you see here, then they aren’t exactly high quality attempts and opposing teams will take that every single night.
There will be fans that will say “relax, this game means nothing” but this chart is very concerning. We’ll revisit this chat in subsequent preseason games and hope it gets better.
3 – In The End, It Doesn’t Even Matter
Like a broken record I keep telling myself “just the second game of the preseason..” because games like this are what preseason is for really. Hopefully it’s a wakeup call for the club because after a solid first 20 minutes, they went to sleep in the second and coasted through the third and even against a team with AHL level talent, you can’t get away with doing that.
But when the head coach comes out before the preseason games start and says, “we need to get a jump on the season” and is insinuating that these games DO mean something, then it’s hard not to see a result like this and wonder what this level of play means for the rest of the actual regular season.