Time for a little #JetsAfterDark tonight as the team wraps up their three game Western Canadian road trip in Vancouver.
The Canucks were almost universally everyone’s pick to finish at the bottom of the Western Conference if not the entire league, but they’ve started strong with a win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday and then looked good against Ottawa on Tuesday night but were just unable to solve Craig Anderson and ended up losing 3-2 in a shootout.
Here is what else to watch for as you break out the toothpicks to pry your eyes open for late night hockey for the first time this season…
My Client Brrrrrrroooock Boooeessserrrr
Thursday night should (keep in mind this is written Wednesday night, well before morning or pre-game skates, so this is just guessing..) see the season debut of Canucks rookie Brock Boeser who looked fantastic during the preseason, leading the Canucks in scoring with 4 goals and 7 points in 5 games played. That he hasn’t gotten a sniff of regular season action yet is a bit of a mystery, but it has a lot to do with the fact that despite the need for a rebuild, the Canucks still have a few too many veterans that are in the way.
The Top Line Arrived.. Anyone Else?
The line of Nik Ehlers / Mark Scheifele / Blake Wheeler were tremendous on Monday night in Edmonton and gave the Oilers all kinds of match up fits, so don’t expect to see that line broken up any time soon. (At least, not until the third period) What the Jets need now though is scoring from the 2nd and 3rd lines.
For what it’s worth, the worthwhile play of both Brandon Tanev and Shawn Matthias did catch some attention on Monday and if they can continue to play well enough in a fourth line role, it will be a huge benefit to the Jets. The key – especially for Tanev as we saw against the Oilers – is to limit how many mistakes he makes in a single game. His penalty in the third was ill-advised and completely preventable.
Canucks Are Looking For A Few Good Fans
When it comes to sports, it’s not entirely fair to say that Vancouver is a “fair weather” city, but it’s also not totally inaccurate either. Win, and the city loves you. Lose, and well fans may not spend their hard earned money to see a bottom feeding team. It’s a bit of a hit to the reputation to Canucks fans as a whole, but if we’re being honest isn’t not a bad way to keep a pro franchise honest. Teams like the Oilers and Leafs have put sub-par rosters on the ice for long stretches of time and never once felt a pinch at the box office. The Jets as well need to start being mindful of that as well as the “honeymoon phase” has long been over, but it remains to be seen if they’ll actually see a drop in attendance in another sub-par year.
As for the Canucks.. Well they’ve had a good run but a rebuild was long overdue and this season it begins in earnest. Since the talent on the ice might not be up to par, the club has to get creative in other ways to attract fans which has included everything from lower ticket prices to meat draws.
As expected, after a great game in Edmonton Connor Hellebuyck was announced as tonight’s starter after the Jets practice on Wednesday.
What The Other Side Is Saying
Cat Silverman over at CanucksArmy.com liked what she saw from a handful of Canucks even in a shootout loss:
It’s frustrating that Boeser still isn’t out there with the team, but it is what it is. Bo Horvat has still been incredibly strong for the team, there’s no surprise there, and Erik Gudbranson deserves a little nod for recording four shots on goal on the night. Even Ben Hutton managed to get a little shot-blocking action, although seemed to be in a bit of pain after the fact. He returned for the third period of play, but that’s worth keeping an eye on.
It’s important to note, though, that Jacob Markstrom did not lose this game for the Canucks.
As much as we all enjoyed that Jets win on Monday, it wasn’t pulled off without a few glaring issues still present. The Jets still had trouble suppressing the shots against count. They were still prone to a mid-game collapse – although thankfully not as disastrous as what had happened in the first two games. They still have issues with not being active or aggressive enough on the penalty kill.
The Canucks – even though they have come out this season playing better hockey than anyone thought they would – should still be a good team for the Jets to work through those kinks in the armor and get some positive momentum heading home.
Jets win 4-2.