After a back-to-back set through the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, let’s look back at the last couple of nights worth of Jets action…
Jets Went Bust In Vegas
The Jets concluded a road trip where they won more than they lost, but I still can’t help but linger on that game in Vegas.
What the heck was that?!
The Jets talked a big game about how three days in Vegas wouldn’t affect them, they “earned” a day off with that win in Dallas and then “got back to work” the following two days… But did they actually go back to work with that practice and then the morning skate the next day? There was still plenty of time for players to enjoy Sin City.
Based on how flat they came out and never truly seemed to be in the game, one wonders if they enjoyed it too much. Even in the disaster games against Toronto and Calgary to lead off the season, the Jets did have moments where they looked to be a very capable and talented team.
There was no sign of that in Vegas, even the infamous Golden Knights Twitter account knew something was up..
PSA: If any other visiting teams want to have extra days off in Vegas before playing us, we're sure we could help line up some 🔥 hotel and flight deals for ya😉
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 11, 2017
The Jets were far from their best on Friday night and everyone knew it.
Maybe next time they should just stay a few extra days in Dallas.
There Are Flaws, There Have Always Been Flaws
One of the biggest reasons for the loss in Vegas was the play of Connor Hellebuyc who had his first real poor effort of the season.
That is not to say that his poor play was the reason the Jets lost, but more that because he didn’t have his best game, it exposed some of the issues the Jets have had even during the eight-game run of points earned. Hellebuyck has “stolen” more than his fair share of games already this season and in doing so, the Jets issues with the penalty kill, issues with zone exits and with zone entries haven’t been as noticeable.
They still had all those issues, but they lacked the goaltending to cover up for it.
We still saw them the following night in Glendale, but the Jets – partly thanks to the fact the Coyotes just aren’t that talented or deep – were able to get back more to a more physical style of game and were more careful with puck possession.
On The Mark
Do we really appreciate just how good Mark Scheifele is?
No, I mean do we truly appreciate how talented he is? Jets fans maybe do a bit more than most hockey fans, but until he gains acceptance as one of the top five centres in the game right now (and I admit to personal bias, but I’d make the argument he’s top three behind only Crosby and McDavid) I don’t feel we fully understand just what the Jets have in Mark.
Oh look, there is Scheifele passing the puck off the boards to himself to get around a guy and then threading the needle to get the puck on the stick of Kyle Connor.
Hey look, there is Scheifele on the forecheck, pressuring Oliver Ekman-Larson into a mistake, stealing his puck and then getting a semi-breakaway scoring chance.
Oh hum, there is Scheifele with another multi-point night. His eighth and ninth points in the last five games. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.
He’s in the top 10 of league scoring and only trails third place by a couple of points.
Oh, Blake Wheeler is that guy in third place with 23 points. He’s another Jet that I don’t know we truly appreciate.
Hellebuyck has been the early season MVP, but the duo of Wheeler and Scheifele are in that conversation as well.
Saturday night’s game against Arizona wasn’t “must win” for the Jets in the traditional sense that a loss wouldn’t have eliminated them from playoff contention or anything.
But if we’re being honest, it kind of was a “must win”
You can’t clinch a playoff spot in November, but you can sure lose it then and while the Jets have done very well to scrap and claw for every point possible in the standings, a regulation loss to a very beatable Coyotes team that has yet to win a game themselves in regulation time would have stung. Those kind of losses are the ones you probably don’t notice in November or December, but you do notice in April if your team is two or three points out of a playoff spot with two games left to play and then you look back at your record against sub .500 teams and see where it all went wrong.
Tuesday night again will not be “must win” but it kind of will be.