Jets dream turning into nightmare
Ted Wyman, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg's Antti Miettinen tries to score on Montreal goalie Carey Price during their NHL game at the Bell Centre on Sunday. Though Price got two good saves on Miettinen, when he had an open net, he should have scored. (PIERRE-PAUL POULIN/QMI Agency)
They’ve been blown out three times by the worst team in the Eastern Conference this season.
They can’t score goals, can’t string together wins and throw in the occasional absolute stinker like the discouraging 3-0 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal Sunday afternoon.
The Winnipeg Jets are now officially closer to last place in the Eastern Conference than they are to a playoff spot. The dream fans are holding onto that this team might sneak into the post-season is fading fast.
It’s looking more and more like this is who the Winnipeg Jets are.
If they play their absolute hardest, check their opponents into the ground and get outstanding goaltending, they have a chance to win games 1-0, 2-1 or maybe even 3-2 on a great day. If any of those elements are missing, they don’t win. It’s that simple.
The Jets scored four goals in regulation time on their six game road trip. An entire team of Selke and Norris Trophy winners playing in front of Georges Vezina himself wouldn’t be able to check well enough to make a team like that win consistently.
BEATING UP BUFF
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien took a beating from the CBC analysts Sunday and deservedly so as the bad side of his high risk, moderate reward game came to the fore against the Habs. Panelist P.J. Stock had the harshest words, saying “He’s absolutely lazy.” Colour commentator Craig Simpson said it’s time for the Jets to move Big Buff to forward and get him causing some havoc in front of the net. I have to agree with that assessment. The Jets are not getting any bodies in front of the net right now and have no chance to get greasy goals. Byfuglien is perfect for that assignment … Buff had a lousy game but in his defence, it was the third game in four nights for a player who is just coming back from an injury that kept him out of the lineup for 16 games … The original Winnipeg Jets won only two games in their entire history in Montreal. The new Winnipeg Jets seem to be carrying on that tradition nicely … The Habs have had a horrible season, but if they played the Jets every game they’d be Cup contenders. The Jets have lost 5-1, 7-3 and 3-0 to the Habs this season (they also beat them 4-0 on home ice) and have looked to be at their worst on each occasion. Sunday’s effort was one of the most pitiful of the entire season … The Habs were playing 24 hours after a 3-0 loss to the Washington Capitals but still outworked, outhustled and outscored the Jets. If other teams can be successful in the second of back-to-back games, why can’t the Jets? You have to wonder if it’s conditioning.
There’s a Safeway promotion in which fans can win a million bucks if a Winnipeg Jet scores five goals in a game. So what do you get if the Jets score five goals in five games? That would be a bit more realistic … Antti Miettinen, how good of a chance do you need to get a goal? Sure, Carey Price made a couple of great saves on the snakebitten Jets forward, but you have to score when you have an open net from the crease … The Jets started the game very well, dominating for the first 2 ½ minutes. After that, they were mostly passengers … Can’t believe the ref fell for Price’s ridiculous flop in the first period that earned Byfuglien a goaltender interference penalty. Soccer fans would be proud … The Jets would have had a goal in this game had it not been for a poor line change during a delayed penalty. The Jets had an odd-man rush and Alex Burmistrov put the puck in the net, but the whistle was blown when the Jets player replacing goaltender Ondrej Pavelec came off the bench too soon. Dumb mistake … Good to see Jets coach Claude Noel giving Spencer Machacek some top-6 minutes in place of the benched Eric Fehr. Machacek had some good scoring chances, including one in the slot after taking a beautiful pass from defenceman Zach Bogosian … None of the Jets forwards did much, but at least Blake Wheeler showed some spirit, first using his wheels to come back and take away a 2-on-1 and later fighting the hated P.K. Subban … The big difference in this game was that the Habs crashed the Winnipeg net every chance they got while the Jets went nowhere near Price.
The Jets power play was awful all night but it was at its worst in the second period when the Habs got the best scoring chance and converted when Alexei Emelin scored on a great saucer pass from Tomas Plekanec. The Jets couldn’t control the puck in the offensive zone and Byfuglien pinched, tried to make moves in tight and wound up turning it over. The Habs had all day to set up a two-on-one with four Jets caught deep in the Montreal zone …. Wheeler took a roughing penalty that led to a power play goal by Plekanec. I have no idea how the ref can hand out one penalty there when Yanick Weber and Wheeler both did the exact same thing … Has it ever taken longer for a team to announce a goal after Plekanec scored? The scorekeepers must have spent five minutes trying to figure out a way to give the goal to Scott Gomez, who hasn’t scored in over a year. Is that what it has come to for a player with 682 career points? … Fans were chanting for Gomez at the end of the game when the Jets were on the power play and had pulled the goalie. Harsh of Randy Cunneyworth to not put Gomez out there.