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Photo Credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G37 Recap: Jets Can’t Solve Rittich Or Flames In 4-1 Loss

Right from the start I want to state that I – your humble blogging buddy – believe that a team can lose to an opposing goalie who has an outstanding game such as Dave Rittich did for the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, and still play sub-par hockey in the same game which is what the Jets did even in out-shooting the Flames although if you take away the first period the Jets only had one more shot than the Flames did which must mean the Jets were “goalied” in this one, which they kind of were, only it’s not like Hellebuyck was awful either, it’s just that…

Hockey is complicated and this was a game where little made sense beyond the 4-1 final score for the Flames.

FIRST PERIOD

Both teams come out looking rather sluggish with missed passes and overskating of the puck happening on both ends of the ice. No goals happen but it was maybe the Jets best period as they out-shot the Flames 14-7 and out-chanced them 9-3 with four of those nine of those chances being considered high danger scoring chances. The Jets were short-handed twice in the period, but the return of Adam Lowry to the lineup made the penalty kill unit look more orginized than it had been in the last number of games.

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SECOND PERIOD

The Flames get on the board early and it’s a bit of a late Christmas present from the Jets.

A lot of people are going to fault Laine on this, but I’d like to point out two things on this play:

1 – Yes, Laine does redirect this in, but he’s back checking at least. He kinda has no choice though because…

2 – Trouba’s indecisiveness on the pinch put him well out of position to defend the Calgary counter-attack.

Right now it feels like Trouba is getting burned on these a lot more than normal. Perhaps it’s a bad run of luck, maybe a little bit of doubt creeping into his game. In real time it looked like Trouba could have at least chipped that puck back in, so who knows. As for Laine, while there was a good backcheck effort, maybe the next trick is to work on doing a bit more with the stick than reaching out with one hand where he can’t control where the puck is going on a play like that.

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The Jets at least evened things up taking advantage of a Calgary mistake.

The reunited TLC line was pretty good all game so it was good to see their forechecking rewarded with a goal.

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Credit to Gaudreau for an absolutely beautiful play that turned four blue hockey players into four hockey spectators and left poor Hellebuyck spinning himself into the ice.

The Flames led the period in shots by a 13-11 margin but were still being out chanced by the Jets 13-11. The biggest difference was shaping up to be both the play of Rittich in the Calgary net, but also the type of chances the Jets were getting. While they had 13 scoring chances, only four of them were listed as high danger which the Flames were able to match.

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THIRD PERIOD

More of the same in the final frame as the Jets again out-chanced the Flames 7-2, but the quality of chances on Rittich should be questioned a bit. Outside of a glorious scoring chance by Little (that somehow wasn’t credited as a high danger chance) the Jets didn’t pose much of a challenge to “Big Save Dave” who played a sound positional game.

The Jets got a late power play oppertunity which quickly turned to dust thanks to a Flames shorthanded goal.

If we’re talking about goals that you know are tough to make but you’d love to see a goalie make, this would be certainly one of them.

One more empty net goal later and the Flames skate away 4-1 victors.

In the end it’s a strange game to get any kind of true reading off of. The Jets could have been better, but they weren’t awful either. They ran up against a really good goalie, but it wasn’t like he was out-of-this-world good or needed a super-heroic effort to stop the Jets. The Jets just kinda took care of that for him.

THE BOXSCORE

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

For Calgary: Johnny Gaudreau – People who follow me on Twitter and see this are going to think I am picking Johnny hockey and not “Big Save Dave” out of spite… And they’d be right. Again, Rittich was fantastic tonight, but the Jets didn’t make it that challenging on him either. Give me the guy who scored a hat trick and did so with a second goal that pretty much ripped everyone’s heart out late in the second period.

For Winnipeg: Patrik Laine – I don’t want to hear it about how he wasn’t skating or playing well tonight. He played just fine and if we’re going off of mental errors, he had plenty of company with him there. He took care of the puck, shot it a handful of times and defended well in his own end but had the misfortunate of one of those plays going sour on him. He’s had far worse the last month.