Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 14

Odds and Ends on the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL –

Some random facts and a few thoughts about the Winnipeg Jets, the Manitoba Moose, and the National Hockey League.  

1.  Wins needed to hoist the Stanley Cup:

 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16

2.  Round Two:  Round two is OVER.  The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Nashville Predators 5-1 in game 7 and now move on to the third round (conference finals) for the first time in either Jets 1.0 or 2.0 history. 

3.  Round Three – The Western Conference Finals:  The Winnipeg Jets are in the Western Conference Final.  Words most Jets fans thought they would never hear or maybe just not this soon BUT it sure has a nice ring to it.  This is getting real and it’s getting real very quickly.  In the opener of the conference final, the Jets defeated Vegas 4-2 to take a 1-0 series lead.  The Jets have won all three series openers and have yet to be behind in any series.  The next objective is to win game 2 and keep control of their home-ice advantage.

UPDATE: 

The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday night in Winnipeg and have now wrestled the home-ice advantage from the Jets going into games 3 and 4 in Las Vegas.  The Jets carried the play for most of the game but had a 6-7 minute lapse in the first period and the Golden Knights scored 2 goals.  Marc-André Fleury kept the Jets off the scoreboard until midway in the third period when Kyle Connor scored to make it a 2-1 game.  The Jets had momentum but it didn’t last long when the Knights made it 3-1, capitalizing on a comedy of errors that lead to the third goal.  Like the first two goals the third Vegas goal was easily preventable.  Adam Lowry had possession of the puck inside the Vegas blueline but overhandled the puck instead of just getting it deep (mistake #1).  Joel Armia had a chance to make a defensive play in the neutral zone but took a poor angle on the puck carrier (mistake 2) and was late covering (mistake #3) for Jacob Trouba’s ill-advised pinch (mistake #4).  Josh Morrissey played the 2-on-1 poorly (mistake #5).  All three Vegas goals were easily preventable, especially the first two.  Patrick Laine struggled along the wall once again and coughed up the puck on the first goal.  On the second goal, Kyle Connor lost the puck in the neutral zone when four of his teammates decided to make a line change before the puck was safely dumped in.  Vegas played better than in game 1 and the Jets actually played pretty well except for a few brain-cramps.  I still think the Winnipeg Jets are the better team. 

“The Knights are who we thought they were and we let em off the hook”. 

I still think the Jets will win this series but it looks obvious to everybody that they are a different team when they score first.  The Jets haven’t been behind in any series so far this year and they haven’t lost two in a row in the playoffs so let us hope they continue this trend.

4.  The Manitoba Moose gave it their best shot but ultimately got swept by the Rockford IceHogs in the divisional final.  The Moose dropped game 3 by a score of 4-1 and game 4 by a score of 6-3.  All in all, it was a pretty good season for the Manitoba Moose.  They continued to develop their young players, they were very competitive all season, and they won a playoff round.      

5.  Blake Wheeler has 15 assists so far in the playoffs and 11 of them are primary assists.  Wheels is doing an unbelievable job of teeing up some big goals.       

6.  Remember when Vegas screwed the Jets over and blocked the Derrick Brassard trade to Winnipeg?  I think I speak for all Jets fans when I say THANK YOU!  We’ll take Paul Stastny over Brassard any day.    

7.  Mark Scheifele is showing the rest of the hockey world what we already knew here in Winnipeg.  He is a stud.  Its amazing what a little national exposure can do.         

8.  Priceless moment:  Watching P.K. Subban flopping on the ice like a catfish when Mark Scheifele one-timed Blake Wheeler’s perfect pass behind Juusi Saros giving the Winnipeg Jets a 3-1 lead in game 7.  You could just feel the whole Jets fanbase exhale.         

9.  Marc-André Fleury (MAF) has been incredible for the Golden Knights in their first two series posting four shutouts with a 1.53 GAA and a .951 SV% so it was huge when Dustin Byfuglien wired one past him just sixty-five seconds into game 1.         

10Flashback:   The story of Dustin Byfuglien.  Thanks to Rick Taillieu (@ricktlu on twitter) for finding and sharing this little nugget from youtube.  

11.  Kyle Connor is the player that intrigues me the most going into next season.  He still has his ups and downs defensively but that part of his game will come.  He is fast, slippery, and skilled.  Connor has been a little inconsistent in the playoffs but if you consider the competition and the magnitude of these games for a rookie I like what I’ve seen.  There has been a lot of growth in his game during the playoffs.  

12.  Pet Peeve:  Joel Armia’s goal in game 1 versus Vegas.  Being a Winnipeg Jets fan, I’m glad they counted that goal but there is no place for that goal in my NHL.  Armia skated through the crease on his own and was slightly nudged into Marc-André Fleury when the puck glanced off his skate.  It was ruled no goal by the on-ice official but Paul Maurice challenged the ruling and it was overturned by the command control in Toronto.  Based on the parameters of the crease rule, it was a great challenge by Paul Maurice and the goal being allowed was actually the correct decision.  The problem is the parameters are all screwed up.  When did the goal crease become open territory for forwards to skate through?  Is the blue paint just a decoration?  The crease needs to go back to the goaltenders with close to a ZERO tolerance.                                          

13.  CONGRATULATIONS to the Steinbach Pistons on winning the Anavet Cup.  The Pistons are now off to Chilliwack, BC to participate in the RBC CUP, Canada’s National Jr. A Championship.  GOOD LUCK BOYS! 

Pistons Preliminary Round Schedule:

Sunday, May 13: Pistons vs Wenatchee Wild (Pacific) – 2:00 pm PDT (4:00 pm local Manitoba time)

Monday, May 14: Pistons vs Wellington Dukes (Central) – 7:00 pm PDT (9:00 pm local Manitoba time)

Wednesday, May 16: Pistons vs Ottawa Jr. Senators (East) – 7:00 pm PDT (9:00 pm local Manitoba time)

Thursday, May 17: Pistons vs Chilliwack Chiefs (Host) – 7:00 pm PDT (9:00 pm local Manitoba time)

14.  Is it just me or does it seem like Helle is getting worse handling the puck?  There was a time during the regular season where you could see a marked improvement in his puck handling skills. But during the playoffs, he seems to be confusing his defencemen and doing more harm than good. 

15.  I don’t understand what is wrong with some Jets fans?  The good guys missed a golden opportunity to clinch the Nashville series on home ice in game 6 losing 4-0 and the hate for Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot was out in full force.  Nobody mentioned that Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey were on the ice for two of the first three goals.  Chiarot was caught off guard and Filip Forsberg got in behind him and scored a big goal for the Preds.  But in a game where the home team didn’t score a goal, the Twitter a-holes tee’d off on Myers and Chiarot.  I don’t know what some fans expect?  I don’t understand the mob mentality and the need for a scapegoat?  Sometimes the other team is just better and the good guys are going to lose. 

16.  The Jets and their fans got a little scared when James Neal blindsided Toby Enstrom in game 1.  Toby left the ice and looked to be in trouble but he returned to action later in the game and looks to be okay.  Toby has been pretty solid since returning from his injury.  The hit by Neal was probably a clean check but Toby was in a vulnerable position and I felt the hit was a little predatory.  Somehow, I wasn’t surprised when I saw it was James Neal.  It’s a long series and Neal better keep his head up.             

17.  FYI

  • Mark Scheifele’s 7 goals on the road in the Nashville series broke Marion Gaborik’s record of 6 goals. 
  • Paul Maurice is 3-0 in game 7s. 
  • Winnipeg Jets 2.0 are 1-0 in game 7s.
  • Mark Scheifele is the leading goal scorer in the playoffs with 12.
  • Blake Wheeler is the playoff leader in assists with 15. 
  • Dustin Byfuglien is leading all defencemen in playoff scoring with 15 points. 

18.  It’s hard to find fault with a team that is currently 9-4 in the playoffs BUT I’m still dumbfounded at how many times the Jets forwards pass up shooting the puck in prime scoring areas.  Every goal doesn’t have to be a highlight reel goal.  There have been countless times where forwards have been in good positions to jump on rebounds but the shot never comes.    

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  9-4 … 2.23 GAA … .926 SV%             
  • Steve Mason:  0-0 … 0.00 GAA … 1.000 SV% 

20.  Special Teams after three games:  Rule of thumb.  Have the two red numbers total at least 100% when added.  (as your minimum) 

  • PP:  4th at 27.80% … up from 25.90%    
  • PK:  12th at 72.70% … down from 74.10%  

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Thanks, Mitch 

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