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Photo Credit: © Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

JNR: Offense Dries Up As Jets Fall To Sabres

It definitely wasn’t a pretty hockey game as both teams struggled to score and make plays. Hellebuyck got the start on the back to back and Eakin made his debut as the Jets fell to the Sabres. Winnipeg got scored on first just like the last seven games, and similarly to yesterday, they never really recovered. This time around they managed to tie the game but the entire team appeared to be tired and uninterested from the beginning. The game remained tied until the third period where Okposo scored his second goal of the game. It held up as the winner with Winnipeg barely registering any scoring chances in the third period.

First Period

Remember how we keep talking about the Jets giving up the opening goal? It happened once again in this game as the Sabres got on the board first. The Jets had a few chances in the opening minutes but they weren’t able to convert. Midway through the period it was Buffalo who managed to get on the board as Okposo beat Hellebuyck. It came from a point shot that deflected off Bitetto in front of the net. The puck was open in the slot and Okposo was the first player to the puck. He slid it underneath Hellebuyck to open the scoring.

Things started to turn around near the end of the period. Maurice started mixing up the line combinations and got immediate results as Jansen Harkins was promoted all the way to the top line with Scheifele and Wheeler. Not bad for a kid who started the year in the AHL and wasn’t even on the radar to make the team.

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Within a few shifts of getting the promotion, Harkins was involved on a nice passing play as the puck went from Scheifele, to Harkins, then across to Wheeler who beat Johansson and tied the game at one.

The other highlights of the period included the Jets giving up a breakaway to Eichel only to have Hellebuyck bail them out, and Wheeler taking a terrible hooking penalty while the Jets were on the powerplay. The obvious penalty negated the man-advantage and gave the Sabres some momentum with a brief powerplay of their own. In the end, the game was tied at one after the first period.

Second Period

The first period featured goals and penalties, but the second period didn’t really have much of anything. Blake Wheeler took his second penalty of the game as he was sent off for high-sticking but the Jets managed to kill off the penalty. With the game tied, both teams were searching for the go-ahead goal but nobody was able to find it.

The best chance of the period came from the stick of Ehlers as he found some open space in the slot. The puck was thrown on net and Shore fished it out before laying it on a platter for Ehlers to score. Johansson appeared to be down and out but he somehow slid across and made a wonderful save with his arm. Ehlers was left in disbelief and the score remained knotted at one.

The Jets started to get pushed back into their own end as the period wore on. The Sabres enjoyed several offensive zone shifts where Winnipeg could barely get the puck out of the zone. With the strong finish, the Sabres had the momentum heading into the third period.

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Third Period

The third period featured more of the same as both teams struggled to get chances on net. The goalies stood tall and it seemed like neither team really deserved to win this game. The Jets almost had a goal on a scramble in the crease, but the puck didn’t quite make it over the line.

 

With the game still tied at one, it only took one shot to change the game. That shot came from Okposo as he roofed a shot on Hellebuyck from a two on one. Beaulieu got caught stepping up at the blueline and Demelo took away the passing option. That left Okposo all alone on Hellebuyck and Okposo won the battle with a nice shot on the short side.

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The rest of the period didn’t have much going on as the Jets looked horrendous trying to tie the game. They couldn’t even get into the Buffalo zone as the Sabres sat back and broke up every offensive zone entry.

The poor third period effort was the demise as the Jets couldn’t complete the comeback.

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TL;DR Why the Jets Lost

The Jets didn’t deserve to win this game. They were terrible offensively although you could argue they got a little unlucky with a few bounces. Overall, they didn’t look sharp as they routinely missed passes, iced the puck, and had terrible giveaways through the neutral zone. The Sabres capitalized when they had the chance and won the game.

Jetsnation Top Gun

There wasn’t much going right for the Jets today but Jansen Harkins is the Top Gun. He was moved up to the top line and helped create the only goal of the game as he fed Wheeler the pass across the ice. Harkins plays a fast and simple game. He shoots the puck often and then races to the crease to try and create havoc. He seemed to be one of the only players with a real effort this afternoon as the rest of the team looked lethargic.

Boxscore

Next Flight

The Jets get a day off tomorrow before playing the Capitals on Tuesday night. That game is the first of a home and home with Washington as the Capitals visit Winnipeg on Thursday. Washington’s right at the top of their division and Winnipeg will need to be at their best if they want to compete. Puck drop is at 6:00 PM.