Winnipeg Jets Showing Some Cracks in Past Six Games


The Winnipeg Jets are 3-3-0 in their previous six contests however some cracks are starting to indicate as they’ve fallen out of first in the Central Division. They are responsible of inconsistent play throughout that stretch and have to patch issues up.

Jets Set Winning Template Against Penguins…

The Jets’ Jan. 13 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins is what a whole victory appears like and the kind of effort Rick Bowness and the teaching employees ought to be pointing to as a template for future success.

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The Jets left Pittsburgh — a spot they hardly ever win — with a 4-1 victory that was as dominant as any sport they’ve put collectively. They had been artistic and opportunistic offensively, dogged defensively — solely permitting 23 pictures and few high-danger probabilities — and confirmed a excessive compete stage.

“That was probably one of the best games we played all year, it really was, in terms of how we wanted to play and how to be successful going forward,” Bowness said after the game. “There were no passengers tonight. Everyone contributed.”

Bowness stresses the significance of a good defensive construction and the group has improved in that regard as they’ve reduce down on scoring probabilities allowed per sport fairly a bit since final season.

The Pittsburgh sport was much more outstanding for 2 causes: it was the second half of back-to-backs, and it stood in large distinction to the sport simply 24 hours earlier than.

…But Have Not Followed That Template Consistently

The Jets escaped Buffalo with a 4-2 win on Jan. 12, nevertheless it wasn’t the kind of efficiency they need to be proud of. They allowed the Sabres — one of many NHL highest-scoring groups — too many pictures and high quality probabilities; the defensive construction broke down and so they both allowed odd-man rushes or had been pinned in their very own zone for prolonged durations. It was solely due to Connor Hellebuyck’s heroic 39-save efficiency that they had been capable of seize two factors.

Hellebuyck stated the Jets “got what (they) deserved” by successful however Bowness didn’t agree, saying “tonight, they outplayed us. That’s the most chances we’ve given up in a long time. Turnovers and poor coverage in our end…”

“Tonight, we found a way to get that goal in the third,” he continued, referring to Kyle Connor’s breakaway game winner, “but we have to find a way to play smarter than that. There’s no sugarcoating it.”

Bowness felt the Jets performed higher in their 7-5 loss to the Detroit Red Wings two nights earlier on Jan. 10. They managed the tempo for lengthy durations and potted 5 targets, however the 3-0 first-period gap they dug for themselves as a result of a gradual begin and uncharacteristically weak goaltending from Hellebuyck was too deep to climb out of.

Eastern Road Trip Has Begun Embarrassingly

The Jets haven’t been capable of replicate the Pittsburgh sport since. After grinding out a 2-1 win in a entice sport in opposition to the lowly Arizona Coyotes in a short go to house, they floundered badly in their two marquee Canadian matchups to start their five-game japanese street journey.

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60-minute efforts eluded them as they did firstly of the season, a lot much less forgivable now that they’ve had time to get used to Bowness’ programs and are pretty wholesome after getting key personnel again from damage.

Related: Jets in Good Position as Injured Players Set to Return

The 4-1 loss against the Canadiens was one in every of their worst performances this season. Despite being the superior group in the standings and on paper, the Jets had been listless, too free defensively, and disorganized offensively. The Canadiens, a group that may rating in bunches, did simply that.

“We weren’t skating. Our legs weren’t going. Our compete wasn’t good. Our execution was way off. There’s very few games that we’re going to walk out of a rink and say we didn’t deserve to win but that’s certainly one tonight,” said Bowness, who is rarely afraid to name a spade a spade. “We didn’t deserve to win that game. We were behind them all night and made it very easy for them to play their game. When the compete isn’t there and the legs (aren’t) there and the execution isn’t there, then you look bad. We looked bad.”

Rick Bowness Winnipeg Jets Head Coach
Rick Bowness didn’t mince phrases about his group’s efficiency in opposition to the Canadiens. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI through Getty Images)

Against the Toronto Maple Leafs — a matchup hyped as a battle of juggernauts — the Jets couldn’t sustain in opposition to Auston Matthews and firm. Sporting new lines Bowness assembled Wednesday as a result of his unhappiness with the hassle in opposition to the Canadiens, the Jets performed a robust first interval and fired 18 pictures on Ilya Samsonov, however couldn’t discover the again of the web.

It appeared to have the makings of a superb bounce-back effort… that’s, till the second once they fell aside. Matthews scored simply eight seconds into the interval and the Maple Leafs exercised their will as they constructed up a well-deserved 3-0 lead by means of two. The Jets pushed again in the third, nevertheless it was too little, too late because the rating ended up 4-1 for the second-straight sport.

Jets Don’t Need to Panic But Should Be Concerned

The sport in opposition to the Canadiens was an instance of an unhealthy behavior creeping again in from the Paul Maurice period: the tendency to play all the way down to inferior opponents. The sport in opposition to the Maple Leafs was an instance of wilting below stress to show they belong in the dialog as one of many league’s prime groups.

The Jets are nonetheless in a superb place, however ought to definitely be involved. They haven’t performed like a group close to the highest of their convention in the previous six video games; in the event that they make the playoffs and play like they’ve these days, their postseason expertise will probably be a brief and unhappy one.

Rick Bowness Winnipeg Jets
The Jets ought to be involved about how they’ve performed in the previous six video games. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI through Getty Images)

Bowness has been a stern taskmaster since approaching board and the group has typically responded to his teaching type. Sadly, they’re falling again on some previous ways in which did them a disservice final season, once they completed properly out of the playoff image.

Bowness must get the group refocused and the gamers have to take the collective strategy to management and accountability that led to them turning heads with a superb first half. They can’t attempt to relaxation on that first half, as a result of half a superb season doesn’t a bona fide contender make.


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