November 6, 2011
Jets snapshots: Some offence would be nice
By Ted Wyman, QMI Agency
We’re going to go out on a limb and say the Winnipeg Jets are not in their comfort zone when playing against a grinding defensive team like the New York Rangers.
Playing the sixth game of a gruelling road trip and dealing with a rash of injuries, the Jets looked tired in losing a tight-checking game to the Rangers for the second time in two weeks.
The Jets were competitive as usual but didn’t generate much offence and mistakes by veteran players were costly again as the Rangers won 3-0.
Captain Andrew Ladd took back-to-back penalties in the offensive zone in the second period and the Rangers capitalized with a goal by Derek Stepan to make it 1-0.
Ladd plays a gritty game and is a good leader, but penalties in the offensive zone are inexcusable, especially from the captain.
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead when defenceman Dustin Byfuglien made a terrible pinch in the offensive zone and Marian Gaborik converted on a two-on-one.
The Jets were in a position where they had to try to generate some offence, so you can see why they were willing to take some chances, but Byfuglien needs to make better decisions and his roving ways have been more costly than effective this season.
Either way, the Jets didn’t seem to have the legs to beat a hard-working, hard-checking Rangers team that frustrates opponents and wins with timely goals.
And once again, there were no goals from the top forwards, who obviously were not alone in the goose egg department.
Unless the top lines start scoring consistently, there are going to be more nights like this one for the Jets.
The Jets had four power play chances but they couldn’t capitalize. With all the games on this road trip as tight as they’ve been, the Jets need the power play to make a difference … Martin Biron has only started three games this season and two of them have been against the Jets, who are making him look like a Vezina Trophy candidate. The Jets have only managed one goal in the two games against Biron and the Rangers … Byfuglien was crashing the net and looking a little more ornery than usual. He played better than he has lately and he’s getting some decent scoring chances, but he can’t buy a goal. Byfuglien gets as many shots on goal as almost anyone in the NHL and he seems to take twice that many shots that either don’t get through or get blocked.
It’s hard to believe the Jets were unable to score with four players banging away in the crease and the puck near the goal line in the first period. It was mostly bad luck for the Jets — the puck hit the nub of Biron’s stick at one point — but it sure looked like Jim Slater passed when he could have put it in the open net just as the whole scrum started … The refs missed a high stick by Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers on Evander Kane in the second period, then called one on a follow through by Mark Stuart — who was already killing a two-man Rangers advantage — in the third … No matter what happens Tuesday in Buffalo, the Jets are guaranteed to go at least 3-3-1 on this trip, which has to be considered a success.
The Jets got into terrible penalty trouble in the third period while trailing 1-0. The Rangers had a 5-on-3 for more than two minutes and the Jets had three defencemen in the penalty box. Fantastic work by Johnny Oduya, Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian and Alex Burmistrov to kill off the penalties led to a bit of momentum for the Jets, but it was erased by Gaborik’s two-on-one goal … We’ve talked about how good Burmistrov is offensively and defensively but he also plays a good physical game. He had as many hits as anybody in Sunday’s game with four. At 20 years of age, Burmistrov plays in all situations for the Jets and has a great future as an all-around player ... The Jets were not as sharp as they have been for most of the road trip. Their passing was especially spotty, though some of that can be chalked up to the fact that the ice at MSG was reportedly in rough shape.
With leading scorer Nik Antropov out, someone needs to step up and create some offence. The majority of the Jets forwards have underperformed in the offensive zone this season, with the goalless Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler the most obvious offenders … Little is fighting the puck, plain and simple. He seems reluctant to shoot, and when he does, he isn’t getting good wood on the puck. He’s had bad luck and no luck to be sure but he has to make more out of his scoring chances. He’s not even getting many shots on goal, just eight in the last five games, let alone putting pucks in the back of the net … Little was outstanding in the faceoff circle in recent games, so at least he had that going for him, but he wasn’t very good Sunday night, finishing at 35% … All that money spent on renovations to Madison Square Garden and they couldn’t figure out a way to put in a Zamboni door that closes properly? There were lots of strange bounces when the puck went into that area of the boards … The GST at MSG? A Jets line playing at Madison Square Garden or paying the tax at a Chinese restaurant?