This team has potentially been worse than their record all year long. Despite great goaltending coming from rookie Michael Hutchinson, and yes, Ondrej Pavelec at times, the defense has been sub-par too many times this season. Take, for instance, the game last night where the Jets were pounded like a midnight hooker by the long dick of the Philadelphia Flyers. Defensive breakdowns are the reason I’m blaming for the loss.
Take the Flyers first goal: a harmless play develops in the Jets zone. The Flyers are able to maintain pressure on the Jets for just long enough until one of them cracks under the pressure. That man was none other than Mark Scheifele. Here’s the breakdown: the Flyers cycle the puck around the zone until it gets back to the left point where it’s shot on net. While the shot is coming, Chris Vandevelde moves to crash the net. He’s being guarded by Scheifele, but not close enough. Scheifele is unable to out-muscle Vandevelde, and subsequently, Vandevelde is allowed to pick up the rebound and burry it.
A good example of what the Jets need to do more of came at the ten minute mark of the first period when Jacob Trouba cleared his man from a scoring position away from a bouncing rebound.
But there are more examples of bad defense in this game than there are good. And the same boasts true for their last loss prior against the Penguins. There are too many times I saw a crowd of five players or more, most of which were wearing black and yellow. The Jets’ inability to clear the Penguins and the Flyers away from rebounds were their downfall.
These are not new problems, however. This issue has been building for a while now, but has been overlooked in the recent success of the five-game winning streak. Many Winnipeggers, myself included, became wrapped up and swept away in the current of their success. ‘It’s the first five-game winning streak in two seasons’ they’d say; and the swooning began.
Then the all-star break seems to have given this team a swollen head: on beaches of white or golden sand, the young millionaires congregated to celebrate their recent success and, no doubt, engage in consumption. It was to their downfall that they came back with swollen heads and blood-shot eyes, still hanging low from the beach parties.
Of course, I’m speculating, guessing, and throwing around my own very humble opinion…but if they don’t get back to their hard-hitting ways and play like they’re trailing every single minute of every single game, then they wont make the playoffs, and thus make a mockery of the CBC who pinned them as a 92.4% chance of making the playoffs.