It was a classic Jets performance in game number five. Unfortunately I don’t mean the Jets of last year, I mean the Jets of two months ago. It was a typical game from February or March as the Jets carried the lead for the entire game, even leading by two goals heading into the third. Things flipped upside down in the third as the Jets not only gave up their lead, but allowed both the tying and go-ahead goal in the final few minutes. The final nail in the coffin was the buzzer beating game winner with only 15 seconds on the clock. Here at Jetsnation, I try to be positive, so let’s include at least a few thumbs up for this one.
Thumbs up to the first twelve seconds. It didn’t take long for the Jets to get on the board in game five as they scored just twelve seconds into the game. It was the perfect start for the TLC line as they got the puck in deep, won a puck battle and shot the puck in front of the net. The puck rebounded right to Lowry who picked the corner to send Winnipeg into a frenzy. It couldn’t have been drawn up any better as the Jets got to play with the lead from the early going.
Thumbs down to allowing breakaways. The Jets got off to a hot start in the early going, but they nearly gave up their lead after allowing multiple breakaways in the first period. One came from a missed assignment in the neutral zone while the other came from a bouncing puck that got past Byfuglien at centre. At least Hellebuyck stood tall in the crease as he got a piece of the first one while the second one went wide on its own. Although the offense was there for the Jets, the defense was slightly lacking for the rest of the first period.
Thumbs down to the four minute powerplay. The Jets were up by two, midway though the second period when Kulikov got hit with a high-stick. It was the perfect storm for Winnipeg as they got an additional two minute advantage because Kulikov was cut on the play. With a four minute powerplay, the Jets could have taken a major stranglehold in the game by scoring one or two powerplay goals. Unfortunately, the Jets couldn’t get anything going on the man-advantage as they got set up but couldn’t fine seam passes to Scheifele or Laine. The second unit didn’t fare any better as they looked terrible when they hit the ice and couldn’t even get set up. The powerplay has been really good for Winnipeg in this series, but they missed out on a big opportunity in this game.
Thumbs up to the supporting players. It’s been the top lines that have been carrying the Jets for majority of the series as Scheifele, Connor, and Wheeler have been fantastic. It was a different story in this one as the top line couldn’t break through and the supporting cast were the ones doing the scoring. Both the third and fourth lines were able to score, but it wasn’t enough as the Jets need a complete team effort if they want to beat the Blues.
Thumbs down to penalties at the start of the third. I was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to mention the penalty woes after game five. Things were going well as the Jets were playing a very clean game through two periods. That ended just before the second intermission as Trouba was too aggressive against Tarasenko and cross-checked him right in the face. It was a carbon copy of game four as the Blues were able to score on the man-advantage at the start of the third period. The Jets were once again playing well at five on five, but the needless penalties are still a concern.
Thumbs down to the final fifteen seconds. The irony was not lost in this game as the Jets opened the scoring in the first few seconds, while the Blues ended the scoring in the last few seconds. An especially large thumb down goes to Trouba who decided to protect the puck along the boards when there was still 25 seconds left in the game. He wasn’t able to hold it and the Blues completed the comeback. He should have tried to get the puck out of the zone as that is a much easier way to run off the final seconds of the game and take it to overtime. He chose wrong and the Jets paid dearly for it.
The Jets are now up against the rope as they face elimination on Saturday in St. Louis. It will take an entire team effort if they want to come back force a game seven. In the meantime, take solace in the fact that we aren’t fans of Tampa Bay or Pittsburgh.