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Photo Credit: © Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G68 Recap: Jets Man Advantage Play Lacks Power In 3-1 Loss to Caps

So that’s what it feels like to out-play, out-chance and generally have the better of play over sixty minutes of hockey and still lose.

Typically the Jets have done that to their opponents most nights, but Sunday night they got punked by the Washington Capitals in a 3-1 loss that helps the Caps extend their winning streak to seven games and sent the Jets home after a very up and down 2-2-0 road trip.

FIRST PERIOD

The opening of the first period saw a bit of a quick start by the Capitals that led to a Nicklas Backstrom goal less than five minutes into the game as the Jets were guilty of being unable to clear their zone a couple of times. The Jets thankfully respond a minute later with some great work and nifty passing from the Jets fourth line which leads to a Mathieu Perreault goal – his first since February 5, and let’s hope that gets him going again.

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But the real story of the first was the Jets inability to generate any kind of real offense on the power play, including a 1:34 stretch where they had a two man advantage and looked downright brutal. The Capitals close out the period with a few more chances from distance at even strength but to it’s credit, the Jets are giving up very little up the middle of the ice and limit the Caps to a handful of shots.

SECOND PERIOD

Two more Jets power plays in the second period result in a whole lot of nothing and it’s just after the second power play of the period expired that the Capitals took advantage of a Jets team maybe being too aggressive as a turnover leads to a high flip pass that lands on the stick of Carl Hagelin – who had just come out of the box after serving his penalty for a hit on Scheifele – and beat Hellebuyck five hole for a 2-1 lead.

The Jets at even strength do manage to start carrying the majority of play but Wshington does well to limit chances around the net area unlike they did in the first period. When the Jets do get a close call, Caps goalie Phoenix Copely is there to make some pretty incredible saves.

But the 0-4 Jets power play looms large as the biggest difference maker going into the third period.

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THIRD PERIOD

After a very early Jets penalty gets killed off by very good PK effort – Caps finish the game 0-2 on the power play without a single shot registered – the Jets pepper the Capitals and their goalie with chances. Late in the game it looks like the game may in fact be tied, but officials blow the play dead even as the puck is still loose. After a first review confirms that the puck does cross the line before the whistle should have blown, a coaches challenge can’t overturn the fact that referees deem that Bryan Little’s stick interfered with the Copley’s pad and the goal is waved off.

The Jets try with one last gasp and power play with the goalie pulled, but that man advantage looks worse than the four other tires that preceded it and a Caps empty net goal seals Winnipeg’s fate.

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THE GOOD…

  • Shots good. Really good. Out-shooting teams good. This 5v5 heat-map from NaturalStatTrick.com is pretty good. These are all good things that should have led to a win but didn’t. At the very least, we as fans can take some solace in that the Jets are capable of doing such things and generating chances from high danger areas.

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  • The second, third and fourth forward lines were pretty good in this game. Not spectacular, but they did their jobs pretty well. The fourth line especially looked good with Copp / Perreault and Roslovic. Ehlers / Connor / Hayes on the second line is gelling well.
  • Nathan Beaulieu continues to impress with smart defensive plays. This sliding play to prevent a cross ice-pass was one example, but there were at least two other times in the game he used his body position and stick to discourage centering passes from the wing.

THE BAD…

  • No, you’re not wrong, that absolutely was a goal that should have counted in the third period. The NHL stated that they had confirmation that Bryan Little’s stick interfered with Caps goalie Phoenix Copley and after having watched the play a dozen times in real-time as well as slow motion, I just don’t see it. Yes Little’s stick is in there and does make contact, but my fundamental understanding of physics doesn’t understand how Copley gets so quickly pushed back there unless he’s kicking his own leg out to either embellish the contact or try and reach past the goal line for the puck. If they said it was inconclusive, I’d maybe get it, but the NHL on their official web site says it was flat out interference so the bottom line is they got this one wrong.
  • The Jets top line of Wheeler / Scheifele / Laine was brutal in this game and if I had to rank from bad to worse, Laine would be the “best” out of the trio, followed by Scheifele who was at best sub-par and then Wheeler who had a really bad game. Every other forward line for the Jets had a positive scoring chance differential, but the top line was -4 in that department and were a -44.93 CF% Rel rating (in other words, when they were on the ice, they gave up a whole lot more offense than the rest of the Jets did.)
  • Connor Hellebuyck rarely looks good on breakaway chances against. Otherwise I thought he looked ok in this game. You certainly can’t fault the second goal on him as he was screened by not only a Caps player, but Tyler Myers as well.
  • I get that not many of us see something going 100 miles per hour often and appreciate just how fast that is so it’s not a bad idea to find something to compare it to, but someone let Sportsnet know that using a bird that’s native to southeast Asia and Australia probably won’t hold a lot of meaning to hockey fans in Canada…

THE UGLY…

  • Both team’s power plays were absolutely brutal, but since this is a Jets blog we only care that the Jets power play was especially bad. It was stationary at best and sloppy with bad zone entries at worst. It was a clear demonstration of just how much this team misses Dustin Byfuglien and not just his shot, but his decisiveness and ability to read an opposing defense.
  • This hit on Scheifele. He was out for his very next shift and after the game there was nothing said about any injury suffered and the Jets dodged a major bullet not losing 55 for any length of time it would seem.

  • That Carl Hagelin scored getting out of the box after that hit just proved there is no such thing as “hockey gods” and if they do exist, they are cold and uncaring beasts.

THE BOXSCORE

  • Teams are adjusting to Winnipeg’s power play by attacking them in their zone and not giving the Jets time to set up. The Jets have to learn to adapt to the pressure and attack a different way buy skating more and not standing still in one place.