The Winnipeg Jets ended their four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. While a victory was much-needed for the struggling Jets, the skies are still turbulent around the Manitoba capital.
Powerless Power Play
The Jets have yet to score with the man advantage this season, going 0 for 19 in the first six games on the power play. Head coach Paul Maurice tried to spark the power play by moving the hulking Dustin Byfuglien to the front of the net, in order to screen the goalie. Byfuglien was used on the point for the most part, as he possesses a blistering shot from the blue line. Neither ploy has worked so far.
Poor decisions regarding passing are a massive plague to the Jets power play in my opinion. Stop forcing, start feeling.
— North End Rick (@NorthEndRick) October 19, 2014
Jets Headlines: Following the leaders. Trying Byfuglien in front of the net to ignite punchless power play. http://t.co/AA808sRmSU
— Illegal Curve Hockey (@IllegalCurve) October 23, 2014
The Jets did have eight shots on goal with the man advantage against Carolina, a marked improvement over the previous game, in which they had a mere two shots on goal against the Calgary Flames. The team cannot get discouraged by the lack of production when a man up. They need to keep directing pucks towards the net. It will probably be an ugly goal that will get the power play going.
Kane Still Not Ready
One of the main pilots in the Jets air force is still not ready to fly. Evander Kane has been out of the lineup since the season opener, in which he suffered a lower body injury as he collided with teammate Mark Scheifele. However, Kane is expected to be skating this weekend according to Maurice.
— Tim Campbell (@TimNHL) October 23, 2014
“Evander Kane is progressing quite well, to the point we have an expectation here in the next few days that he’ll be on IR (injured reserve) skates. Non main group skates so nobody runs into the guy. Maurice told the media.
The Jets have been forced to juggle their lineup without Kane, moving Mathieu Perrault to Kane’s slot alongside Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. Rookie Adam Lowry was moved up to the third line centre spot, replacing Perrault who shifted to the wing when he joined Scheifele and Wheeler.
Meanwhile, Kane was busy joining play-by-play voice Dennis Beyak during the Carolina game, doing some colour commentary.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) October 22, 2014
The Jets are hoping that Kane’s broadcasting job is only temporary.
Salvaging The Homestand
The Jets have two games left on this current homestand, with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche paying visits to the MTS Centre. Neither game will be easy. The Jets are 1-2 so far on this run of games at home and they need to win these next two contests, in order to go above .500 on this homestand.
The Lightning are in the midst of a five-game road trip and have won two out of three on this trip so far. The Lightning have been solid in the early going, as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the Montreal Canadiens.
Tampa will be without defenceman Victor Hedman who flew back to the Sunshine State, after sustaining an upper body injury.
But the Bolts still have Steven Stamkos in the lineup and he’s as dangerous as ever. Stamkos is tied for second in the NHL with five goals this season and is looking to regain the Rocket Richard trophy, an award he won in the 2011-12 season.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche have had their problems just like the Jets. Colorado has won only once in their first seven games. But the Avalanche have weapons such as Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene that can give the opposition fits. Colorado did finish atop the Central Division last season so despite their early season woes, the Jets cannot afford to take them lightly. This will be the first of five meetings between the two division rivals.