January 23, 2012
Great Jets effort trumped by lack of execution
By TED WYMAN, QMI AGency
It was another solid effort but this time the Jets came away with even less to show for it.
Two days after they dominated the Florida Panthers but had to settle for a shootout loss, the Jets owned the Carolina Hurricanes for two periods Monday only to wind up on the losing end of a 2-1 score.
The Jets badly outshot their opponents in both games and played with the kind of fire they needed to win key divisional matchups. However, in both cases, they spotted the other team a 2-0 lead in the first period and it cost them what would have been crucial victories.
You canít fault the Jets for their effort, especially when they are continually playing without key players like Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane.
They looked like the better team, despite missing arguably their two best players, but the terrible start and lack of finish when they were peppering Canes goalie Cam Ward in the third period made all the difference.
Great efforts only go so far. These last two games, it was all about execution, or lack thereof.
Saw a tweet from TSN Jets analyst Mike Johnson before the game saying ďThis is the type of game playoff teams win.Ē Need we say more? ... The Jets skated so well in the third period and outshot the Hurricanes 14-2 (30-16 overall). That should have been enough to get the job done, but Ron Hainsey hit the post, snakebitten Chris Thorburn just missed on a couple of golden opportunities and Kyle Wellwood scooped one over the net when he had Ward beaten on a breakaway with less than two minutes left ... When Thorburn finally scores, you just know the entire Jets team is going to be thrilled. Itís hard to imagine a player who works as hard as Thorburn isnít going to find the back of the net a few times soon ... What a beautiful dangle by Alex Burmistrov on a short-handed one-on-one in the third period, but again Ward made the big pad save. The Jets actually had more chances short-handed than the Hurricanes had on the power play all night.
BAD LUCK, BAD GOAL
The first goal, by Carolinaís Jeff Skinner was just bad luck for the Jets. After Nik Antropov had a great chance turned aside by Ward at one end, Skinner broke in on a two-on-one, but Hainsey blocked his pass across only to see it bounce right back to Skinner for an open-net goal ... The Jets desperately needed a bounce-back goal but instead it was Tim Brent scoring on what looked to be a centring pass that somehow eluded Chris Mason through the five hole. The hard-working and honest Mason will be the first to tell you that it was a lousy goal ... It was a tough start to Masonís 300th career game and the first sign of adversity for the backup goalie against the Hurricanes this season. He has beaten the Canes three times already, but on this night Carolina had the superior goaltending ... The Jets have to start getting more of their shot attempts on goal. They officially missed six shots in the first period but it seemed like 20 and the trend continued all night ... It doesnít seem right that there are currently no Winnipeg Jets slated to take part in the NHL all-star festivities this weekend in Ottawa (Byfuglien was invited but is injured). Not that itís worth watching anyway, but the NHL might want to make sure their newest (and arguably most passionate) fans have a dog or a pony in their annual dog and pony show ... With Jonathan Toews and other players battling injuries, thereís still a chance there will be replacements for the all-star shinny game, so thereís hope the NHL will see the light about the Jets.
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas chose to make a political statement by not joining his teammates for a White House visit Monday, then delivered an anti-government rant on Facebook. Now thatís what we call creating a controversy. Kind of makes all this silliness over Kaneís restaurant bills seem like small potatoes, doesnít it? ... Jets colour man Shane Hnidy missed Mondayís game because he was at the White House with his Bruins teammates (other than the aforementioned Thomas) from last season. Hnidy won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins and then retired to become a broadcaster after the season ... Hnidy was replaced on the radio broadcast by Goldeyes play-by-play man Paul Edmonds who provided the colour commentary.
Brent could have been called for unsportsmanlike conduct when he fired a one-timer at Mason even though it was obvious the Hurricanes were about to be called for a penalty. Mason was ticked off and justifiably so ... Antti Miettinen has had a rough go of it with the Jets, perhaps never more so than Monday night when he had a chance to bang home a loose puck in the crease and instead slipped and put the puck in the corner of the rink ... The Jets three best offensive players of late have been Wellwood, Antropov and Tobias Enstrom and all three were in on the goal that made it 2-1 in the second period. Antropov and Enstrom set up Wellwood and he showed great finish, considering he had not scored a goal in the previous 16 games. Wellwood has been at his creative best of late though and has a five-game point streak going. Antropov, who has been invisible at times this season, has six points in the last four games and Enstrom has been especially dangerous since he returned from injury, with 13 points in 18 games ... The Jets may be kicking themselves as seasonís end for letting these last two games get away. Two wins and they would have been alone in first place in the Southeast Division. Instead they are still in third and just five points ahead of fourth-place Carolina and six ahead of last-place Tampa Bay.