No one – at least not in any level of seriousness – said that this series was going to result in a sweep by the Winnipeg Jets. So that they lost game two of their best of seven series to the Nashville Predators really isn’t a major problem or even anything worth losing sleep over. But it does feel like a missed opportunity.
Let’s start at the end with that goal…
- Toby Enstrom made an ill-advised pinch, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The team around him would have been fine if that was the only mistake.
- Jack Roslovic also took a weak stab at trying to keep the puck in and then did this arm around the player thing which wasn’t the worst play in the world to make but not a great one. The team around him would have been fine if that was the only mistake.
- Matt Hendricks for whatever reason skated back to the bench for a shift change at half speed as if it was a mid-January beer league game. Not ideal but worst has happened and the team around him would have been fine if that was the only mistake.
- Dustin Byfuglien defended the 2 on 1 pass poorly. He reacted late. It happens and the team around him would have been fine if that was the only mistake.
- Four little mistakes that on their own would have been minor, but piled up into one big mother-cluster of a game winning goal against. By the time to got to the Jets goal, Connor Hellebuyck in very uncharacteristic fashion for him in this post-season bit way too hard on the deke. He actually did still get a glove on the puck, just not enough of it.
- In the hours after blame seemed to mostly go to ether Enstrom or Hendricks but I am a big believe in “win as a team lose as a team” as hokey as it sounds and it wouldn’t shock me if that was the message in the Jets dressing room. Bad play all around and unfortunately it cost them an OT goal.
- Don’t discount the hustle and series of nice plays the Preds had to make on that play including a very nice move at the end by Kevin Fiala. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to just tip your hat as well.
That all said, let’s briefly talk about the rest of the game…
- Obviously Jets played better in this one which makes it feel like a missed opportunity especially given that they were up 2-1 after one period and were the better team in the second and third period. In a way the Predators did to the Jets exactly what the Jets did in game one. Winnipeg had a handful more shots but just couldn’t beat Pekka Rinne while on the other end a couple of breakdowns and some poor goaltending led to two Predators goals.
- Right now the one thing that really seems to be the achilles heel for this Jets team is zone exits out of their end and zone entries into the Nashville zone. Both were better in game two, but still struggled at times. That Jets power play to start the third period – two full minutes on a clean sheet of ice – was flat out awful and it was because the Jets couldn’t get past the blue line. It’s been two games of that now, adjustments need to be made.
- Connor Hellebuyck needs to be better. This isn’t to say the loss is on him – the first two goals against were screens where he had a Nashville player jumping in front of him , but the last three were of goalie versus shooter type, and while you can let one, maybe even two go, three such goals against are killers. Of course we know what happened the last time he gave up five goals in a game.. So here’s hoping for some repeating history.
- It just feels like Mark Scheifele is putting this team on his back doesn’t it? What a playoffs he’s had so far.
- Ditto that for Brandon Tanev.
CHARTS N STUFF
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
For Winnipeg: Mark Scheifele – 2 goals and an assist and he has been phenomenal all playoffs for Winnipeg. (Honorable mention to Dustin Byfuglien who had a great game as well)
For Nashville: Ryan Johansen – Like Scheifele, 2 goals and an assist and the Jets have no answer on how to stop him right now. (Honorable mention to Viktor Arvidsson)
Game three is Tuesday night in Winnipeg and it’s going to be one heck of a party! Puck drop is set for 7 PM CST.