After a tough night for Jets fans, filled with nightmares of Thomas Vanek blasting breakaway slap shots and dancing around Jets defenders, the team and its fans regroup and attempt to salvage this road trip. The Jets knew this would be a tough stretch of games, the tail end of 9 straight games in 9 different cities, would test even the best teams in the league.
After splitting the first four games of this stretch on the road, Winnipeg returned home and were dominated by the Philadelphia Flyers. Things got no better last night as the Jets dropped their third straight game, to the Minnesota Wild. Though the score finished at 5-3, it was very flattering for the Winnipeg team after they fell behind 5-1 in the second. It was a night of breakdowns on the Jets defensive side, breakaway followed breakaway followed two-on-one and many other odd man rushes against all night. The Jets move on and a stop in Dallas tonight either stops the skid, or continues the Jets losing streak.
It Just Gets Tougher
There is no soft landing spot for Winnipeg, Dallas is arguably the top team in the league, and their offensive skill is incredible. If Winnipeg plays the same style of game against Dallas as they did against Minnesota, they won’t give up five, it could be closer to ten. Apart from the defensive breakdowns that gave the Wild so many odd man chances, the Jets didn’t help themselves with their discipline. The Jets added to their league leading tally putting the Wild on the power play five times, bringing the Jets total to 63 times shorthanded this season.
After Dallas, Winnipeg also visits Nashville and St. Louis before heading home, two teams that have a combined six losses. In this central division, the Jets cannot afford a big losing streak, however if their play does not improve immediately, the Jets could see themselves staring a 0-4 Central division road trip in the face.
The Jets lineup looks a little different heading into tonight, Paul Postma comes out, likely for Ben Chiarot. Paul Maurice also juggled his bottom six forwards, swapping Chris Thorburn onto the third line with Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford. The move keeps that third line very strong defensively and gives the fourth a new look. With Burmistrov joining Petan and Copp, Maurice hopes to jump-start the offense, and gives all three of them a chance to play with a lot more offensive talent.
Pavelec gets the start again tonight, it was a rough outing in Minnesota for him, giving up four goals on 12 shots, however it was hard to put any blame on him with the quality opportunities the Wild got.
Born and raised Winnipeg sports fan and contributor with The Hockey Writers.