I guess expecting them go 6-0-0 was asking for a little too much.
There aren’t many other ways to say it, other than to state that the Winnipeg Jets had an absolute dud effort on Tuesday night in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers which put a halt to their three game win streak and put a bit of a damper on playoff hopes that had been renewed with that streak and recent run of good play.
Those hopes had been sparked by a Jets team that had looked to have turned a corner from their near disaster of a performance through December and January and were overall playing far better hockey, but shadows of the brutal play we saw before the All-Star/Players Break crept back into their game last night.
The power-play was all kinds of bad going 0 for 4, and they didn’t even register a shot on goal in their first attempt back when it was a 0-0 game, and getting a lead may have changed matters.
They had a three on one scoring rush opportunity later in the first period when it was a 0-0 game and they didn’t even register a shot attempt when getting the game’s opening goal may have given the Jets a much needed boost.
And then Chris Kreider scored in the first period to make it 1-0. And he did again in the second period while the Rangers were on the power-play to make it 2-0. Through two periods the Jets played the same kind of hockey that had some people thinking the team was lottery draft pick, and not playoff bound. Poor special teams, decent even strength play but with shots taken from distance, and poor defending in front of Connor Hellebuyck who did what he could to keep the Jets within reach.
Even after all that, at the start of the third there was hope that maybe the Jets could mount one of their third period specials where they suddenly remember they are quite a capable NHL club that should be able to play much more competitive games. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) the Rangers scored twice within the first minute of the period to make it a 4-0 game and put away any doubt who was skating away with a victory.
Only a well placed Nikolaj Ehlers shot spared us the indignity of not just a shutout loss, but a one save Henrik Lundqvist win.
(King Hank came in during the first period and played about six minutes worth of hockey making one save, after Rangers starter Igor Shesterkin was taken to the infamous “quiet room” after a Tony DeAngelo induced collision with Andrew Copp. Shesterkin came back at the start of the second period.)
The last ten minutes of the game was a somewhat depressing display of a Jets hockey club blending lines, trying to find a spark somewhere in their lineup, but failing miserably. Yes they out-shot the Rangers 44-32, but just like their game through the previous two months, the shots were cold and from too far a distance to matter…
At least Jacob Trouba didn’t score.
And now I go to you with some of your thoughts and in a way they are all kind of connected…
Dose of reality. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
— Matt Bergen (@swervin_mervin) February 12, 2020
Of the six home games, the game that they can afford to lose.. NYR on a hot streak and a non-conference team to boot… beat SJ/LA and especially CHI and this was just a blip on the radar…
— TG Dobson (@tgdobson) February 12, 2020
Can’t win em all. Their goalie out goalied our goalie which doesn’t happen often! Time to prep for San Jose!!! pic.twitter.com/UID5jMdrNT
— Jillian Dawn Ainge (@jdawnainge) February 12, 2020
As I said to lead off, expecting the Jets to go 6-0-0, or expecting any NHL club to pull that off is a pretty big request and if the Hockey Gods were to ask you as a Jets fan to pick at least one game out of the next six where the Jets would lose, you’d likely pick this one. The last three home games are against Western foes and that game against Chicago on Sunday does loom large as another chance to keep the Jets afloat in the Western Conference playoff race.
Was this game a bit of a wake-up call to the Jets? Perhaps.
I’d also caution that this game and the brutal first period effort last Sunday against Chicago could also maybe be a wake-up call to those of us who were starting to plan for playoffs and forgetting that this club is maybe more like what we saw during December / January and not the potential world beaters we saw for the last two weeks.