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This game had “trap” written all over it.

Even though they Jets haven’t won more than three in a row this season, the hype around this team has been fairly positive and it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if the Jets had laid an egg against the 31st overall Detroit Red Wings and goalie Eric Comrie who was making his first NHL start of the season, and the sixth start of his career but the first that wasn’t in a Winnipeg Jets goal.

It could have been a trap game but it wasn’t and now the Jets will get a chance on Thursday to win their third in a row .

Another rough start

The first six minutes of the game… What the actual hell was that?

The Red Wings looked like the 90’s Detroit teams that would terrorize the 1.0 Jets as Winnipeg’s local side would barely get pucks out of the zone if they did at all. The Wings raced out to a 6-0 shot lead which led a few Wings observers to declare that it was the best start the team has had all season and all I kept thinking was “of course, it’s the Jets that would let that happen.”

Sure, a team that has lost 11 in a row going into the game should be laser focused and coming out like a rocket to start a game, but the way Winnipeg couldn’t seem to string more than two passes together and had repeated turnovers in their own end of the ice is alarming.

The Jets seem to be able to weather these early storms well enough, but would it kill this team to be the ones that start fast more often than not? Or at the very least, start games by not giving up the first six shots of the game and waiting almost six full minutes to pick up their first shot?

 

Hard Luck Laurent

I’m certain every single Jets fan cringed a little and muttered “oh no, not again” when Laurent Brossoit was forced to leave the game in the second period to deal with an equipment issue that had already delayed the game by a good three minutes or so. Unlike the game against Columbus though, I was almost certain from the moment Connor Hellebuyck started getting his gear on that this wasn’t a situation where Brossoit was done for the night.

Of course the unfortunate part – for both goalies – was where Hellebuyck gave up the lone Red Wings goal on the night. Ouch for Hellebuyck who exited the game having played a minute and nine seconds, giving up a goal and ending with a .500 save percentage and a comical 54.55 Goals Against Average for the night. Ouch for Brossoit in that he left the game with a lead and came back into it back even with the pressure on and not much room for error.

Thankfully Laurent was error-free on the night stopping all 16 shots faced from a rather lackluster Red Wings attack that included a 5 on 3 advantage in the third period where Detroit didn’t even manage a single shot on goal. It wasn’t a tough night for Laurent, but at the same time many a goalie has pointed out that it’s the quiet nights that can be some of the most challenging. The Wings had a couple of different times in the game where they went more than five minutes without a shot on goal and that requires a goalie who can stay focused and be prepared for shot at the most random times, so great work by the Jets backup.

But because he had to leave the game, Brossoit wasn’t going to get credit for a shutout even if Connor had kept the puck out for the brief moment he was in goal. The Jets would have gotten credit for a clean sheet, but no individual stat for either goalie. At least Brossoit did get credit for the win though which in the end is all I am sure he cares about.

 

Harder luck Comrie

Poor Eric Comrie. This wasn’t all on him. I don’t even know if it was partly on him. He’s playing behind a really bad team and he got lit up for it. Hopefully he gets a few more chances with the Red Wings and can fare better going forward.

It’s crazy how about four seasons ago, before Hellebuyck emerged as the force he now is, practically everyone figured Comrie was the heir apparent for Winnipeg, the one who would replace Pavelec.

 

Powerless play

The Jets power play went one for five and it looked awful each and every time it went out. It looked really bad going up against a Red Wings Penalty kill that ranks 31 out of 31 NHL clubs. In four of the five power play chances they managed just one shot each time and had zero shots in a brief minute long power play in the second period.

Now, that said, one of the power plays that had just one shot was when one shot was only needed as it was Mark Scheifele’s third period rocket off of a faceoff that made the game 5-1, so kudos to the Jets for that, but even then the goal I feel annoyed Jets fans more than anything.

Why can’t the Jets do that on power plays all the time? How come Neal Pionk can get a quick pass over to Scheifele without fail for the one-timer, yet can’t seem to ever pass to Patrik Laine?

The Jets power play issues remain the same. Pionk and Blake Wheeler hold on to the puck too much. Opposing teams opt to try and take away the threats of Scheifele in the slot and Laine on the left side. Kyle Connor just kind of floats around and teams really don’t may that much attention to him because he’s rarely in positions to be a threat unless he can pounce on a loose puck in a scramble or second chance scoring opportunity.

The Jets power play is as predictable as ever and it’s not really working except for the once in a while moments that the sheer shooting talents of players like Scheifele or Nikolaj Ehlers or Laine or Wheeler shine through and can beat a goalie clean.

It should not look as bad as it did with only four total shots in five power play opportunities in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.

 

Beyond the first six minutes, that was good!

I’ve made two negative points on a game that ended 5-1 for the Winnipeg Jets and don’t want to risk being tabbed as someone always focused on the negative with this team.

The truth is this is a game the Jets should have won handily, and they did even if it took a moment to get there. No one should expect a lot of celebrating and praise over a victory against a team that had lost 11 in a row and is dead last in the league standings, in goals for, in goals against, the penalty kill and if we’re being all honest here, in hope for the future. There would be a LOT more concern if the Jets had to squeak out a one goal win or even suffered a loss. That unfortunately is the nature of the beast.

There were positives. Laine scoring an absolute beauty. The third line continues to play really well. The power play at least did get one so it wasn’t a total loss. The penalty kill was exceptionally good. Once they woke up, the defense around Brossoit became suffocating. Overall the Jets played a really strong game, 12 different Jets got a point in the game including four of the six defensemen who dressed.

But these are all things that should have happened last night. They are also things that should go well tomorrow in Detroit, if not even a little better.