Coming into this two-game series against the Vancouver Canucks, the Winnipeg Jets were riding high on a four-game winning streak that was snapped during the first game of this back-to-back series, although they bounced back strong and avoided losing consecutive games on Tuesday night.
After being shutout 4-0 on Monday, Winnipeg needed to make some adjustments during the following night and those changes certainly paid off in a massive way as they answered back with a 5-2 victory. Considering this club is now preparing for a five-game road trip, this much-needed performance will definitely help them maintain some momentum while they’re away from Bell MTS Place.
Here are three takeaways from the Jets’ back-to-back series split against the Canucks:
1. Outstanding Response During Second Night of Back-To-Back Series
Following a 4-0 defeat on Monday night, coach Paul Maurice was looking for his team to send the puck on net a lot more frequently on Tuesday and they did exactly that, as they generated 39 shots on net, 35 scoring chances and 10 high-danger scoring chances. In comparison, the Jets only created 27 shots on net, 24 scoring chances and five high-danger scoring chances in the first game against the Canucks.
In particular, forward Paul Stastny helped lead the way during the second game of this back-to-back series, as he finished with a team-high 0.61 xG and produced one goal, three shots on net, three scoring chances, three high-danger scoring chances and a 75.0% faceoff percentage. Along with Stastny, teammates Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele also played key roles in this victory, which resulted in a trio of points for each of these skaters.
2. Underrated Performance From Mason Appleton
While forward Mason Appleton struggled to find his footing last season, the 25-year-old hasn’t endured those issues so far this season, which has allowed him to enjoy a strong start to his third campaign in the NHL. Despite scoring just four points over his last 10 games entering Tuesday night’s contest, the former sixth-round pick broke through his recent woes and generated one of the top performances of his career, resulting in one goal, two shots on net, three scoring chances, one high-danger scoring chance and a 0.37 xG (second-highest on the Jets).
Along with driving hard to the net to score his sixth goal (new career-high) of the season, Appleton also showcased his quickness multiple times to exit the defensive zone and that same speed ultimately helped him create several scoring chances in the offensive zone as well. Adding to his impressive showing, the right-hander drove hard to the net in the offensive zone once again and drew a tripping penalty, which provided Connor an opportunity to score the game-winning goal on the power play.
3. Rough Series in Faceoff Circle
So far this season, performing effectively on the faceoff dot hasn’t been a strong suit for the Jets, as they currently own the 12th-lowest faceoff percentage (49.4%) among all 31 teams in the league. Unfortunately, the Canucks exposed this weakness over the last two games and took advantage of it in the offensive zone, resulting in a 67.9% faceoff percentage.
To make matters worse, Winnipeg struggled mightily to win faceoffs with the man advantage, as they performed to a troubling 37.5% faceoff percentage and that issue largely prevented them from converting on more than just one of their four power-play opportunities. Considering Scheifele finished with team-lows in overall faceoff percentage (25.0%) and defensive zone faceoff percentage (16.7%) during this back-to-back series, it’ll be crucial for him to dramatically improve in the faceoff circle through the remainder of the season.
The Jets will receive a travel day on Wednesday and will be back in action on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at 6 pm CT.