The Winnipeg Jets are mired in a bit of a losing streak. Their last 4 decisions resulted in a whopping 2 of a possible 8 points. With the rest of the Central Division continuing the push for the playoffs, that just will not cut it in Winnipeg. The Jets need to sort out their issues quickly if they want to consider any chance at a post-season berth. A date with the Florida Panthers did not appear to be the antidote to Winnipeg’s woes. The Jets were down Josh Morrissey and Dylan DeMelo against the best team in the NHL. It … went about as well as you’d expect.
- Ville Heinola rejoined the Jets line-up and it was a largely forgettable outing. The Finn got paired with Nathan Beaulieu and was besieged for much of the night. Heinola’s biggest issue was his desire to be aggressive and push for breakouts, which led to some rough turnovers and blown coverages. His style stands in contrast to Winnipeg’s current structure, but he can likely fit his game into what the Jets are looking for. In the third period, he had a few shifts with Schmidt that were a lot more like what we’d want to see; composed use of outlets, good decision-making under pressure, and facilitation of clean defensive zone exits.
- Heinola wasn’t the only defender getting bullied. The entire Jets blueline was a trainwreck. Schmidt got walked for a goal or 2 against. Samberg showed his rookie status under pressure and had an ugly second period. Beaulieu was Beaulieu. The absence of Morrissey and DeMelo could be felt across the line-up.
- The Jets forwards were outplayed across the board. The Panthers hemmed them in the defensive zone and gashed the slot. The depth lines struggled in particular, but that’s not surprising. This is the Panthers, after all. Not everything was bad news, though!
- Cole Perfetti had a monster game. He was the most impressive Jet on the ice and potted 2 beautiful assists. His second helper on the power play was especially impressive, dragging the puck on a fake shot around a sprawling defender to feed Dubois.
- This team’s disjointed and inconsistent play continues to haunt it, especially on mistakes that get converted into goals against. Hellebuyck may rue some of the goals against, but the Jets simply need to play better. They can not lean on their netminder to save the day.
- Finding a suitable long-term coach will also require a revamp of the roster. The team isn’t quite matching up against teams that should conceivably be worse. Against better squads like the Panthers, you can guess the outcome.
- February will make or break the remainder of the season. What the Jets do during the Olympic break will likely set the trade deadline agenda.