Crash landing for Jets at home

Still early, but club looking eerily similar to last season's

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Maybe it's true about not judging a book by its cover or drawing any concrete conclusions from the first notes of a song, the first moments of a movie.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/10/2014 (3034 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Maybe it’s true about not judging a book by its cover or drawing any concrete conclusions from the first notes of a song, the first moments of a movie.

 

But after a solid opening act in a season-opening 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes, the curtain has all but come crashing down in full on the Winnipeg Jets in the three games since, including Friday night’s 2-0 shutout loss to the Nashville Predators in their 2014-15 home opener.

CP John Woods / the canadian press Nashville Predators forward Mike Ribeiro deflects a shot from the point past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec in the first period. It stood as the game winner.

And so what the Jets are serving up now looks, tastes and smells a whole lot like the same old, same old: Starting in a hole — albeit a shallow one — after a 1-3 start to the season and now 0-1 in the Central Division.

“The two goals we gave up, one went off (Jim Slater’s) skate, the other was a nice tip in the high slot,” said captain Andrew Ladd. “If we put a couple in the net it’s a different story and you guys are probably rolling with a different story.

“We know we’ve got to brush up in a few areas, but we know we can get better… especially with the little battles in our end and being sharper with the puck and moving the puck from out of our end.

“But those are things we can fix.”

 

AN OFFENCE GRINDING ITS GEARS

The Jets have now been shut out in two of their last three games and scored just once in their last three. For the record, the last goal — Bryan Little’s marker against the Los Angeles Kings — means the Jets have now gone 88 minutes and 13 seconds without finding the back of the net.

“The simple answer is we’ve got to put more of the basic stuff to the net so that we can find a way to bang some ugly ones in until the offensive guys get that good feeling around the net,” said coach Paul Maurice. “But in any of the last three games there’s not going to be any easy offence… that back end is pretty solid and they don’t give you a whole lot.

“If there was any ease in the first 30 minutes of our puck movement it was gone by the end of it.”

Winnipeg now has seven goals this season, three by Little, two by Blake Wheeler and singles from Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Stuart. The Jets did manage to fire 31 shots at Pekka Rinne, missing eight more and having 14 others blocked, but — as was the case in San Jose and L.A. — generated very few second and third chances.

 

GOOD ZEROS, BAD ZEROS

The Jets managed some of their best offence, ironically, early in the game while short-handed. Winnipeg’s penalty kill was a perfect four-for-four and has now killed 18 consecutive power plays to open the season.

On the flip side, the power play had some decent movement — especially early — but fired only five shots on three power-play chances of their own.

 

‘TENDERS DUEL

Winnipeg’s pin cushion, Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, was solid again, kicking out 25 of 27 shots and now has a save percentage of .919 to start the season. But in a duel of tenders, he was second-best to the Predators Pekka Rinne who registered the 33rd shutout of his career.

“It would be one thing if we weren’t getting chances or we weren’t getting much,” said Little. “But tonight we had a couple great chances and a couple good looks, especially on the power-play. Their goalie came up and made big saves and when you’re struggling to score you fight the puck a bit when you get those chances. That’s just what it is.

“A couple shots we had tonight he looks huge in there. There’s not a lot of room. He takes away the angles good and the chances we did have tonight he made those saves look easy. He’s a good goalie.”

 

NO PANIC… YET

This was the first of a five-game homestand for the Jets that continues Sunday with a visit from the Calgary Flames, followed by the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche.

“We have to have a sense of calm and confidence in here that we can fix a few things,” said Ladd. “We obviously know we need to do some things better. We’ll move on tomorrow and work on them in practice and get better.”

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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