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Photo Credit: © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD 2 / What to watch for In Calgary

Things can’t possibly go as bad as they did on Wednesday… Right?

A couple of days removed from a horrible a start to the 2017-18 season, the Winnipeg Jets are now on the road for their next three games as they get in a swing through Western Canada starting in Calgary tonight.

The Flames themselves didn’t exactly have a great start to the season either as they got Connor McDavid’ed in Edmonton, losing 3-0 to the the Edmonton McDavids.

In The Bag

The day after the Jets embarrassing opening night loss, the team was put through their paces a little bit near the end of their practice with a bag skate, although Paul Maurice later begged to differ with the term used…

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the Maurice isn’t truly stuck in a 1980’s or 90’s style coaching philosophy.

There is some credence to the fact that after the Jets fell behind by three goals within the span of a couple of minutes in the first period, the players didn’t show much in the way of intensity or willingness to fight to get back in the game which is likely what drove Maurice crazy.

Tonight’s game in Calgary should see a Jets team that is a tad more motivated, but it will be interesting to see what the body language and effort of the boys will be should the Flames get out to an early lead. It could go a long way in telling us if the game against Toronto was just a bad night all around, or if there are deeper issues with attitudes and maybe a certain coach affecting them.

In The Nets

Mike Smith had an up and down preseason for the Flames, but was easily Calgary’s best player on Wednesday night 42 saves in the game against the Oilers. Until Connor McDavid truly took over in the second half of the game, you can argue that Smith kept the Flames a chance to tie things up which might have led to a different type of game near the end.

Steve Mason however had an awful opening night and while all the goals against were not completely on him, there were a couple he probably would have liked a do-over again including this stinker off a faceoff..

The book on Steve Mason from last year in his time with the Philadelphia Flyers is that it took a few games for Mason to get into a groove, but the Jets don’t have a lot of time for that to happen. It seems way too early to go to this well already (much like it seemed way too early for Maurice to go to the “Bag Skate” well) but the Jets need Mason to make those kinds of saves that can deflate a team and kill any kind of momentum.

Little Lowry Goes A Long Way

Adam Lowry led Jets forwards in ice time on Wednesday with 20:27 played. That stat was helped out a lot by all the power play time the Jets saw – but it should be noted didn’t capitalize on – against the Leafs.

No matter what you’re feelings are on Adam Lowry (personally I am a fan), when you have a team that features offensive weapons like Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine, Adam Lowry getting the most ice time of any Jets forward is not good under any circumstance including being blown out at home for game one of the season.

We’ve gone over at length on how Lowry is best utilized as a fourth line forward, but he can be helpful in third line situations as well as with the man advantage. His 6 foot 5 inch frame is ideal for getting in front of the net to cause some havoc for opposing goalies and take some abuse from opposing players – it’s certainly better for the big Lowry to wage war around the front of the net rather than say a 5 foot 10 inch Mathieu Perreault.

But at the end of the night, Adam Lowry isn’t going to win this team hockey games, guys like Blake Wheeler and Nik Ehlers are and those are the players that should be leading in ice time. If halfway through tonight’s game Adam Lowry is again even in the top three of ice time for Jets forwards, I’ll be willing to bet that the Jets are trailing in the game.

Lowry is a great support player, not someone who should be getting all the ice time.

Game Prediction

A handful of Jets fans and media were quick to grab their towels and calmly state “don’t panic” after the game one loss to Toronto, but what will they do after tonight? I’m afraid we’ll find out as Calgary has a much better home opener than Winnipeg did and defeats the Jets 6-3.

  • JN

    “when you have a team that features offensive weapons like Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine, Adam Lowry getting the most ice time of any Jets forward is not good under any circumstance including being blown out at home for game one of the season.”
    Matthias and Tanev over Petan and Connor.
    Just 2 of the many reasons to GET RID of Maurice.

  • LAKID

    The Jets have weak goaltending but better than the flames over 82 games. Smith will be so shell shocked after tonight and the end of October that they will Lack any chance of a wildcard spot. This is the kind of team the Jets have to beat for a ticket to the dance. So far Vegas has your wildcard spot and the Leafs steal your lunch money!