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When we look back at the 2019-20 season and the more notable wins the Jets had during it, this game might be one of the ones that stands out. Multiple injuries leaving the Jets with just four defensemen for an entire period, multiple bad calls by officials, attachments falling apart around the building, another game where the “fancy stats” suggest that a win was improbable, a cold goalie coming into a tied game with over ten minutes left in the game…

There is something to admire in the “stay in the fight” Jets. Other teams have called themselves “pesky” or “cardiac” … These Jets just seem resilient. Even after getting a lead and then giving it up two minutes later, they just keep pressing on. Maybe not in the most ideal way, but by the end of the season it really doesn’t matter how, it just matters how often.

It was mostly good, except for when it was bad.

The bad of course being the second period of that game where the Jets couldn’t buy a break with the refs, with puck bounces, with being able to stay healthy, with anything really. The only thing that saved the Jets bacon in that second period was goaltending, both the good kind from Laurent Brossoit that prevented the Jets from falling behind more than a goal in that middle frame, and the rather questionable kind from Elvis Merzlikins who might not have had a chance on the Wheeler / Ehlers give-and-go play, but should have easily had the Mathieu Perreault somewhat flubbed one-timer that got the game to 3-3 going into the third.

Beyond that second period though? It wasn’t all bad. Sure the Jackets still had a slight edge when it came to five on five play in the first period but it wasn’t by much and looking at the some of the gameflow charts you can spot on various sites (like the one our friends over at Natrual Stat Trick has) outside of a couple of moments where the Jackets piled up a few chances, things were pretty even at even strength.

The two biggest issues that continue to plague the Jets and that in turn will always skew the advanced metrics against the Jets is their inability at times to execute clean exits from their own zone (a problem they really had in the first period) and their passive perimeter play in the offensive end that doesn’t generate much in terms of shots let alone high danger chances. Until the Jets can get better in these two areas, expect to keep hearing about how the advanced stats don’t appear to favor the Jets even if they still find ways to win.

Bad officiating =/= Goals against

Two things that can be true at the same time… The officiating in last night’s game – especially in that second period – was brutal. The Jets penalty kill in last night’s game was even worse.

Both referees in the game, Jon McIsaac and Garrett Rank bit hard on a few Columbus sell jobs through the first and second period, but at the very least it gave us one of the funniest moments we’ll see all season from Blake Wheeler who had a chance to mock Boone Jenner.

But now that we’ve all acknowledged that a handful of the calls against the jets were bad, it’s time to admit that the Jets did themselves no favors with that penalty kill which up until last night had been doing better this past month. It’s fair to point out bad calls, but at the end of the day bad calls happen to all teams multiple times during the season and it’s on the players to get past them.

Give the Jackets credit for being as sharp as they were as well, but the Jets giving up three power play goals out of the five times they were short handed isn’t on the refs at all. It’s on them.

Here’s hoping they tighten back up in California.

Wheeler and Ehlers are turning into a solid duo.

Everyone was so focused on making sure Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele got together on a top line, that I don’t know if we even thought or counted on the idea that Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler would be doing ok and in some ways better than the ‘top line’.

It’s not perfect by any means and it doesn’t mean that the Wheeler/Ehlers/Roslovic line should be considered the Jets top line instead, but this is encouraging. Wheeler is still struggling at times with his positioning as a center and he’s had bad nights in the face-off dot (last night he was pretty good at it though going 11-4) but Ehlers has really turned into a great line driver and Jack Roslovic is also starting to prove himself as a viable top six forward.

But the chemistry between Wheeler and Ehlers is starting to become obvious.

Keeping Brossoit out was the right call.

Adding to the overall weirdness of last night was Laurent Brossoit leaving the game midway through the third period due to cramping up (the fabled mustard pack made a return!) and Connor Hellebuyck had to come in like a closer in baseball and thanks to a tie game at the time, 11 saves made and a late game winner from Andrew Copp, Hellebuyck got the win.

Just before the Copp goal though, cameras caught Brossoit on the bench feeling better and looking to ask Paul Maurice to get back in the game, but Maurice decided against it much to Laurent’s frustration.

It’s understandable why Brossoit would want back in there, but I completely agree with Maurice in that call to finish with Hellebuyck. Helle looked fine out there in a tough spot and the last thing the Jets need right now is to risk any more injury even if it was just a case of the backup goalie tightening up.

Besides, while we know Helle got credit for the win, that win doesn’t happen without Brossoit.

One last Sunday note…

By the time this publishes, fans throughout Manitoba and Canada will be either just getting into Grey Cup party mode or well into it already.

It’s been 28 years. They’re due for a championship. We’re overdue to celebrate one.

Go Bombers.