The Winnipeg Jets were very happy to finally come home, but they were welcomed with another tough Test against the Florida Panthers, which came down to a miserable four-game road trip that resulted in four consecutive defeats.
The Jets held their first game at Canada Life Center since December 19, with only 250 fans in attendance, and the Jets were forced to create their own atmosphere during this competition, fortunately the first 20 minutes of play had a lot of quality entertainment. .
From start to finish, the opening frame was played at an extremely high tempo, consisting of several end-to-end rushes in transition. In total, these two franchises combined for five purposes – including some markers of Paul Stastny and Kyle Connor – although it was forward Mason Marchment‘s two-goal effort that was largely responsible for the Panthers’ 3-2 lead after the first period.
Then, as the playing pace calms down in the center frame, forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on the power play at the 3:30 mark and tied the score with three goals each. Unfortunately, Florida responded more than six minutes later, with Carter Verhaeghe to win a setback to regain his team’s one-goal advantage.
Forward Sam Bennett He scored his 18th goal of the season over the middle of the third period, he put this one away and eventually gave the Panthers a well-deserved 5-3 victory.
Digging deeper into this game, let’s examine three takeaways from Winnipeg’s fifth consecutive defeat.
Jets unprepared to handle Panthers’ high-flying attack
Standing against an elite offense would never be easy, but it became very clear early on that the Jets were not fully prepared, especially from a defensive point of view, before the shooting.
Granted, this team was thrown a massive curveball before the pre-match skate when defender Josh Morrissey entered COVID-19 protocols, forcing the coaching staff to relocate its defensive pairs. As a result, young man Ville Heinola, who has not played at any of the levels since Jan. 8, was thrown into the fire on late notice while skating next to him. Nathan Beaulieu.
As most of us saw on Tuesday, the Heinola-Beaulieu couple endured a rather memorable performance from start to finish – something almost everyone could probably have predicted in advance. In the end, this duo was on the ice for a number of goals, including Marchment’s first of two markers on the night.
While Winnipeg’s bottom pairing was not reliable, they were also not alone in that division, as all three pairs experienced some form of defensive decline throughout the game.
Whether it was Brenden Dillon and Nate Schmidt allow Anthony Duclair to freely enter the attacking zone on Bennett’s goal, or Dylan Samberg with the task of covering two forwards on the side of the net on Verhaeghe’s score, this team simply did not get ready for this type of opponent.
Should this whole disappointing effort be blamed on the coaches? No, but the players must also be held accountable here. Everyone deserves a share of the blame for not waging much of a fight against Florida’s offense.
Cole Perfetti’s NHL Game Continues to Grow
Are there any adjectives left to describe newcomer Perfect Cole? If there are, they should be found immediately, as this 20-year-old is not ready to slow down any time soon as he continues to take the NHL by storm.
Despite keeping Perfetti out of the standings in each of the previous three games, Perfetti broke out massively against the Panthers on Tuesday, recording his first career multi-point performance. When he appeared in his ninth NHL competition, the 5’10 “forward led the Jets with two primary assists over his 15:58 ice time – both of which were highlights that attracted attention in the league.
Starting with his first career helper, the electric youngster received a perfect exhaust pass from Samberg and carried possession in the attacking zone. When he was there, the left-hander waited on the wing for a passing lane to open, as soon as that happened, he ushered a cross-ice pass to Connor, who ended the series by his 23rd of the season to record.
– JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) 26 January 2022
If that was not impressive enough, Perfetti elevated his art to another level in the second period, starting with devastation in front of the goalkeeper. Sergei Bobrovsky to draw an intervention penalty. With his team trailing 3-2, that was exactly what they needed to level the playing field.
After gaining possession in the attacking zone, the Whitby, Ontario native showed his star patience by letting a Panthers defender miss and then having the awareness to skate around him before finding Dubois in front. In turn, this deadly duo paired up on a beautiful one-timer for a much-needed power play goal.
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) 26 January 2022
Now nine games into his NHL career, Perfetti will burn the first year of his entry-level contract if he plays at that level once again in 2021-’22. But at this rate, there would be no way to justify sending him back to the AHL other than to deliberately manipulate his tenure.
Another unlucky goal against Connor Hellebuyck playing the Puck
As a goalkeeper Connor Hellebuyck has one weakness, without a doubt, this is puck handling. Although it only seems to take the odd time, the 28-year-old has now experienced similar incidents in consecutive matches.
Last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hellebuyck tried to shoot the shooter around his net in hopes of pushing the game to the opposite side of the defensive zone. Unfortunately, his shot took an awkward bounce from the boards and came to the other side of his crease, where forward Jeff Carter took advantage for an easy draw goal.
This time, the two-time All-Star made sure to wire the puck above the boards to avoid another costly mistake, unfortunately that’s just what happened. With his shot somehow turning off the glass and back to the slot, Marchment jumped on the loose shot and fired it quickly onto the net, where it caused teammate to tip over. Anton Lundell‘s leg for the score.
Are these two recent events just coincidence? Or are they part of a much bigger issue at hand? Being less aggressive with the puck in future games will help Hellebuyck correct these problems.