The Jets defense has been a mess through the first two games with Josh Morrissey, so when it was announced right around puck drop that Morrissey wasn’t going to be in the lineup against the New York Islanders, we all saw trouble on the horizon. We knew that given that it was the third game in four nights and with as bad as the defense was, it was going to be ugly, we had just hoped it wasn’t going to be too ugly.
As with any game, there are things that can be learned from Sunday night’s loss to the Islanders. Here’s some of the takeaways I had from the game…
Laurent Brossoit was the reason it wasn’t uglier.
Patrik Laine said it best in his Sportsnet interview during the second intermission… Without Laurent Brossoit’s work, the Islanders may have had six or seven goals.
It’s very rare that you’ll have a goalie who posted an .879 save percentage had his work praised, but given how bad the defense was in front of him and the goals that did end up beating him, Brossoit really couldn’t be faulted for having a tough night stopping 29 of 33 shots faced. The second and fourth goals against you can maybe argue that he could have had better positioning on, but even on those goals, that’s where you’d like to hope the defense in front of you helps you out.
Brossoit had very little help tonight. The Islanders were practially on top of him the entire game and that’s because…
The Jets defense is all kinds of bad.
Holy crap that’s bad. It took the Islanders a period to figure it out, but after a relatively quiet first period where the Jets were able to keep the Islanders and the puck to the outer parts of the zone, the Islanders realized they could just own the middle of the ice and the slot area in front of the net and proceeded to do so over the last 40 minutes, but especially in the second period where all the damage was done.
It was mentioned in the preseason that the Jets were working on having the defense collapse around the front of the net in order to help limit second chances and rebound attempts. The only issue with that is right now they don’t have the talent (or in some cases the experience) to pull that off properly so you get night’s like Sunday night where the opposing team says “screw it, let’s get to the net and get our scoring chances there.”
5v5 High danger scoring chances in the second period favored the Islanders 15-3 which is an insane amount. Normally giving up six in a period is pretty high, 15 is starting to push it for a full game amount. The Jets gave that up in 20 minutes of play.
Overall they had 19 5v5 scoring chances, so that 15 of those were high danger (which is classified as shots taken in the slot triangle area in front of the net) should be a major concern. And it’s not like it’s just this game. Here is the map from the previous game against New Jersey.
This is partly what happens when you have to dress the defensemen the Jets currently have, but this is also on the defensive system that Paul Maurice has in place. It’s not working. At all.
At least Laine scored.
Imagine that, put Laine on the top line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele and suddenly he scores.
I don’t know if that’s completely cause and effect, but Laine actually had pretty good game all around with a couple of hits, a couple of takeaways. his individual xGF rating of 0.28 was the highest on the team. There is reason to believe that he really has put in the work to be a better skater as his board work has been much improved over the first three games of the season.
At any rate, it’s good to see Laine scoring early in the season and getting going on that front.
The Jets did get “goalied” a bit on this one.
If you look back at that Islanders game heat map, you’ll notice the Jets had plenty of chances of their own in front of the New York net. Thomas Greiss deserves some credit for a very well played game in goal for the isles. Once score effects started taking over in the third period, the Jets had their chances to get back into the game much like they did in new Jersey. If Kyle Connor had scored on either of the two very good looks he had early on in the third period, the game could have been 4-2 with over ten minutes left to play which would have been more than enough time for a come back.
I said it half jokingly on the JetsNation Twitter during the game last night, but in a way it’s a bit of a shame they didn’t fall behind 4-0 in the second because with the game only at 3-1 to start the third, the Isles still had a little bit of urgency in their effort to put the Jets away for good and leave them with little time to comeback.
But right now it’s not a good sign that the Jets need to rely on such things to have a legit chance to earn wins. The best any of us can hope for – beyond Dustin Byfuglien busting through the dressing room doors to declare he’s back – is that Josh Morrissey is ready to go Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Or else it could be an even longer night than Sunday night felt.