Photo Credit: © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ups & Let Downs: A Win Is A Win

It’s hard to get excited about a win over a club that had but one of them in their first nine games going into last night’s contest, but the alternative is the Jets losing to a team clearly in the first year of what could be a long rebuild in Detroit and instead of saying “well at least it’s a win” we could be scrambling to find that damn panic button. So we’ll take the win and be glad for it.

As it is, the Jets escape Detroit with a 2-1 win. If this game deserved any kind of reaction from Jets faithful, might we suggest polite golf clapping? That seems appropriate.

Big Ups to Dustin Byfuglien for 500 points

Big Buff became the 66th defenseman in NHL history to hit the milestone and he did so while also scoring his 100th goal as a Winnipeg Jet (he has 120 as a member of the franchise going back to the Atlanta days) and maybe most importantly in context of last night, it was the game winning goal midway through the third period to give the Jets a 2-1 lead that they then were able to hang on to.

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It’s also very encouraging to see Byfuglien scoring this early in the season compared to last season where it took him until January 2018 to net his first. It’s still early on in this season, but he’s on pace to have a scoring year very similar to what he had a few seasons ago when he was an All-Star and constantly in Norris trophy consideration.

The continuing surprise that is Laurent Brossoit gets Big Ups

Three starts, three wins and all three featured save percentages north of the .930 mark. Can’t ask for much better than that from your backup goaltender.

Which by the way is what Brossoit still is despite the fact he’s played well and Connor Hellebuyck has struggled at times. There was some chatter in the social media circles that maybe the Jets had another “backup taking over starter” situation going on again much like what happened last season. Let’s tap the breaks on that shall we? For one, it’s not exactly like Hellebuyck has been awful – 4-3-1 with a .907 save percentage isn’t great, but it’s hardly a disaster. More to the point, two of Brossoit’s three opponents were the Arizona Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings who are respectively 29th and 30th overall in goals for.

It’s not exactly high quality opposition that Brossoit has had to face.

And this isn’t to take away from his play, it’s been outstanding for the most part. If you saw his play in Edmonton in the previous few seasons, it’s hard to believe it’s the same goalie. Clearly his work with Adam Francilia (the same personal goalie guru who helped Hellebuyck the previous summer) has paid off.

It’s not time to call the signing of Brossoit the shrewdest of summer moves by Kevin Cheveldayoff quite yet, but it is looking like a very smart pick up.

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Bad play in the first period continues to be a Let Down

Maybe the entire team just needs a big whiff of smelling salts before the first puck drop, or perhaps someone should just tell them before they head out onto the ice that the NHL just changed the rule and now the game will be played entirely within one 20 minute frame known as the third period.

Whatever the tactic that is needed, the Jets need to figure it out because bad starts continue to plague this team.

The Red Wings actually out-shot the Jets in the first period 14-9. On the bright side, even with that poor first period, the Jets did limit how many high danger chances they had against (they allowed three in the first period) and were much better and protecting the slot area in front of their net compared to what had happened against Toronto.

The numbers from last night’s game would suggest it wasn’t a disaster of a period by the Jets, but it was universally agreed it was a bad one and perhaps that’s mostly due to what happened earlier in the week against both St. Louis and Toronto, and with the added factor of it being the lowly, last place in the league Red Wings… You can’t blame Jets fans for panicking a bit early on in the game.

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Big Ups for more balanced ice time

It’s not there quite yet – Lemieux and Roslovic again played under seven minutes each – but Paul Maurice did a bit better with his line balancing in this game even with the nearly three consecutive penalties the Red Wings took midway through the game which gave the Jets almost six straight minutes of power play time.

Mathieu Perreault played 14:26 which is much more in line with what he normally should see for ice time and most of it was on a line with Bryan Little and then a combination of either Nik Ehlers or Kyle Connor. We’ve seen 85 with 18 and 27 in the past and they’ve played well together as they did last night as well – Natural Stat Trick credited that line with four scoring chances for an none against, with three of those four chances being listed as high danger.

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Scheifele and Wheeler are still over 22 minutes of ice time each which is still a tad high, but it’s better than the 25 minutes both of them played in the previous game.

We’ll see if that trend continues the next night in Toronto.

Big Ups to guys who willingly let themselves get hit with a puck more than a human body should take

Jimmy Howard’s last two games have been 36 and 38 save efforts in losing causes. Any more losses like that and he really should consider suing the Red Wings for non-support. His work in the second period alone was the reason the Jets didn’t have a two or three goal lead after 40 minutes of play.

The only other player from last night’s game who might have a bigger bruise left from a puck is Brandon Tanev who made an awkward block in the second period while somewhat crouched on the ice and ended up taking a puck in the ribs that at first looked serious enough for the refs to blow play dead even with the Wings still in control of the puck.

Tanev skated off bent over and right arm tucked in tight to his side and for a brief moment it looked like he was done for the night. Only, it’s Brandon Tanev who did his best Poncho imitation and was back on the bench moments later.