Four game losing streak puts Jets in precarious position.
Hockey is like comedy sometimes. Timing is everything. Problem is, the Winnipeg Jets aren’t providing many laughs for their fans to enjoy. A four game losing streak has seen the Jets playoff fortunes fade and a sense of desperation is in the air. Nobody likes the term must win games, but the next three games for the Jets, all of them inside the friendly confines of the MTS Centre are must win games.
The Jets currently sit four points back of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference, currently held by the Dallas Stars. What makes matters worse for the Jets is that the Stars have two games in hand.
So how did the Jets get themselves into this prickly spot? “I’m concerned with the foundation of where we started from – the good defensive game, the solid defensive game – starts to disappear on you.” said Paul Maurice to the Winnipeg Sun. “This is human nature, and this is part of the growth process. You build one part but don’t have it shrink when you go over to build something else. You want to keep that foundation there and add to it, and that’s a challenge to us.”
During this four game slide, the Jets have conceded 14 goals, an average of 3.5 goals per game, while only netting 8 goals for, an average of 2 goals per game. That’s the simple math. But when the Jets make lapses in their own end, the puck usually ends up in the back of the net.
For example, in the game against the New York Islanders on March 4, Zach Bogosian was caught standing still at centre ice. The speedy Michael Grabner took advantage of Bogosian’s lack of movement, and blew right by him to score the overtime winner.
Another example took place against the Ottawa Senators on March 8. Mark Stuart mishandled a pass at the blue line, resulting in a two-on-one for Ottawa. While Stuart showed tremendous hustle in diving back to stop the cross-ice pass, he crashed into goalie Ondrej Pavelec, leaving both players out of position. The Senators cashed in on the tire fire in the Jets end that resulted in complete embarrassment for Stuart and Pavelec.