Issues creeping up with the Jets goaltenders?
Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
By Goose8 months ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! The Winnipeg Jets have had a rough six weeks of hockey. Since Jan. 17 the Jets are 7-11-2. In 13 of those games, the Jets goaltenders David Rittich and Connor Hellebuyck allowed three or more goals against. Are the cracks in the final line of defence for the Jets starting to show? Is this still the tandem we should believe in? Or, is this just a bump in the road to success?
I’m not trying to run these goalies out of town but I have noticed a bit of a break in Hellebuyck. Overall this season Hellebuyck has a goals-against average of 2.62 and a save percentage of .919. In his last five games he had a save percentage of .854 and a goals-against average of 4.20.
Does the Jets starter need a longer-term break? Potentially yes. He has been the backbone of the Jets for a long time and has played well this season but the mental stress of holding this team on your back night in and night out has to exhausting. In his last 15 games, Hellebuyck has lost nine of them. We know Hellebuyck is a warrior but how long can a man play at an elite level? Maybe it’s time to have the NHL start to time manage like the NBA or like Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares who sat out a game recently just for not feeling up to snuff.
For Hellebuyck there’s no shame in being mentally exhausted. If he is only mentally feeling like 75 percent right now he could feel worse by the playoffs and the Jets could get beat by a young hot goalie early in the playoffs. Dallas and Minnesota are the two teams that come to mind with the young goalies.
Rittich has been a very serviceable backup for the Jets I like what he does. He has a .906 save percentage of 2.57 goals against average and gives the Jets a legit chance to win every night. Rittich is probably looking for a starting job again in the NHL and this season he has proved he can be a capable backup when needed. Yeah, he can give an ugly goal a game but he still gives you a chance to win. He could still find a starting job with the right team but would need some extended starting time.
Rittich has been a “1A” goalie before with the Calgary Flames the second season he played with Mike Smith. It’s not like he hasn’t been in this spot before you also need to consider the guy is on a one-year contract there is no guarantee the guy will get re-signed again in the NHL. He most likely will but a three-week stretch where he is the starter could give him a chance to make even more money.
How will the Jets run their tandem in the final stretch?
The Jets still need to have a winning record going into the playoffs. It looks like 96 points are the cutoff plus or minus about two points. The Jets will play 13 games against either a playoff team or a team looking to get into the mix between now and the end of the season. There are 17 games left in total for the Jets. The Jets will need a record no worse than 10-6-1 to cross that line of 96 points.
The next five games are some of the toughest the Jets will face all season. The Jets will face the Minnesota Wild, the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and the Boston Bruins. Rittich will probably play one of those five games and most likely be the game against the Panthers on Mar.11. After those five games, Rittich should be the starter for the three weeks after those five games. Yes the three weeks after those five games teams will be hungry to win and play spoiler but this could be a chance for Rittich to prove his worth in the NHL and could give Hellebuyck the break which could be the difference between being in the playoffs and making a run in the playoffs.
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