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The Takeaways: Last Night In Nashville

In my years of writing about hockey and for various blogs, I’ve learned one universal truth: It’s much easier to write about a team when they lose as opposed to when they win.

When a team wins, you can nitpick issues all you want, but at the end of it all there is one simple conclusion most people only care about: “.. yeah, but they won the game”

Jets special teams were bad. “.. yeah, but they won the game”

If not for the goaltending, that would have been a blowout loss. “.. yeah, but they won the game”

They looked slow and gave up the first couple of goals and this isn’t sustainable hockey and… “.. yeah, but they won the game”

So when the Jets lose, sure the critics come out of the woodwork and it feels like the negative nancys are out in full force yet again, but know that it only seems like that because there can’t be a reply of “.. yeah, but they won the game” to in effect shut them down.

And truth be told, those of us who would point out a teams flaws kind of enjoy when we can end our critques of those flaws with “.. yeah, but they won the game”

Lets get into some takeaways from last night’s game…

The Predators are still pretty good.

Yes the Jets fell apart in the second period, but was that because the Jets were bad or because Nashville is pretty, pretty good? Especially at home and playing in front of probably the best fans in hockey (hockey seriously needs more college style chants like they have in Nashville) the Predators improved to 7-1-1 and it’s easy to see why based on that second period. The Preds out-skated the Jets in every aspect of the game in the second period and in the few times the Jets managed to pull off a zone exit from their own end of the rink, Nashville was quick enough to recover and shut down any thought of the Jets having their own sustained attack in the Predators zone.

Take away that second period though and it wasn’t an overly bad road game for the Jets. They out-played Nasvhille in the first and I think any team would take a 1-1 tie after the first 20. You can point to “score effects” for part of what happened in the third period, but give the Jets some credit for at least digging back a little. (Though if I’m a Predators fan this morning, I’m a little concerned with how the Preds always seem to flirt with giving up leads)

They are defending Western Conference champs for a reason, they have a pretty good club over there in Nashville. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat and move on.

Drawing Lines In The Ice

Down by three in Nashville going into the third was probably as ideal a time as any for Paul Maurice to juggle some lines while seeing how they do in actual game action. You never want to waive a white flag in any game, but given the circumstances, a comeback wasn’t all that likely and it’s only mid-November.

So Maurice gets the blender out and basically switched around Bryan Little and Adam Lowry. Little ended up down with Perreault and Armia while Lowry got to skate with Ehlers and Laine.

And the cries out from fans on social media were immidiate.

Look, the fact is Little wasn’t finding his game playing between 27 and 29. That line wasn’t working and save for a few nice moments hasn’t really worked out well all season. Does Adam Lowry have the skating ability to keep up with the two young speedsters? Not a chance, but there is a physical element to Lowry’s game and as long as Adam understands that his job on a line like that is to help create a bit of space and win some puck battles along the boards, the speed thing may not be a factor.

As for Little, why not put him with a guy like Perreault who has proven he can even make Matt Hendricks look like a potential 15-20 goal guy?

The bottoline on the line juggling was it seemed to be a case of Maurice throwing poverbial mud on the wall and seeing what sticks. It’s good for him to see how different line combos work and take notes and it helps the players break up the monotoney.

Try not to get too freaked out by it.

Riding Pine

No, your eyes didn’t decive you, that was Nik Ehlers and Matt Hendricks getting pretty much benched in the third period.

Ehlers looked awful on that fifth Predators goal where he basically ignored the long PK Subban bomb from his own end into the Jets side of the ice and then let Nick Bonino dance around Connor Hellebuyck while only giving a slightly half-hearted stick check as he skated by. It’s one thing for a player like Mark Scheifele or Jacob Trouba to make bad plays or poor decisions – those things happen – but you have to keep skating like you give a damn out there and Ehlers didn’t.

Matt Hendricks was near invisable for the first half of the game, so Mauice decided to give him a legit reason to be invisable in the third. It’ll be interesting to see what Maurice does with him over the next week or so. Hendricks has had a couple of strong games the past weekend, but he had them playing beside Perreault and as versitialle as Matty P is, you can’t keep putting him on a third or fourth line just to carry Hendricks.

Do A Barrel Roll!!

File this under “I don’t know what I gotta do, but I gotta do something”

I’ll never question Brandon Tanev’s hustle or work ethic. I will question however his ability to make wise decisions, both in terms of how much it helps or hurts his team, and also for his own personal welfare and safety.

I suspect I’ll spend the rest of this week trying to figure out what this actually was, but I also know I kinda loved seeing it.

You Can’t Win ‘Em All

I’m still ok with the Jets going 2-2-0 on this trip. I’d be thrilled if they can even go 2-1-1 or even 1-2-1. Just breakeven points wise on this road trip and I think we can call it a success.

  • Eddie O rules!

    I don’t know if PoMo sat Hendricks because he had been invisible earlier in the game, I would guess that his playing time in the third is largely ruled by whether or not the jets have the lead. I’m not sure Lowry with Ehlers and Laine is all that crazy, but I’d probably start just by switching Scheifele and Little, maybe even drop Connor to the third line and move MP up with Little and Wheeler. It’d make the team even more top 6 heavy then they have been lately and it’s what I’ve been railing against since the start of the year, but I think those top two lines haven’t really been going lately whereas the bottom 6 has actually been pretty good.