Another home game and another loss for Winnipeg. There was plenty of optimism not too long ago with the Jets on a three game winning streak and a six game homestand on the horizon. One week removed from that winning streak has the Jets on a different kind of streak with three losses in a row, all on home ice.
This game was different than the last two losses as the Jets actually played quite well. They likely deserved a better result as they controlled the play for much of the game. That’s our first talking point during the takeaways from last night’s game.
1) The Jets actually played well
This wasn’t the same team that got blown out against the Penguins or let the game get out of hand against the Coyotes. This was an excellent performance for most of the team as the Jets continually controlled possession and scoring chances. This is the type of performance that the team wants to consistently have because even though they lost, they were doing things the right way.
As you can see, the Jets generated tons of chances from directly in front of the net. Semyon Varlamov was the main reason why Winnipeg couldn’t muster more than one goal.
2) Keep the second line intact
The best line for the Jets last night was easily the second line of Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers. They scored the only goal albeit on a powerplay, but they were the most dangerous line all game as they continually generated chances off the rush and held the puck in the offensive zone nearly every shift.
As far as on-ice impact is concerned, the Connor, Copp, Ehlers line had 22 shot attempts while limiting the Islanders to only 4 attempts. That includes actual shots of 12-2. The ice was heavily tilted in Winnipeg’s favour every time the second line touched the ice.
With Bryan Little coming back in the next few games, Maurice would be wise to leave Copp on the second line and slot in Little somewhere else.
3) The best version of Lowry is back
Adam Lowry also had a great game against the Islanders last night. He was physical, had a great forecheck, and generated a number of scoring chances from the most dangerous areas. It was a night and day performance from last week for the big centreman. What might have changed to spur this on?
Look no further than his new linemates: Mathieu Perreault and Jack Roslovic. The three of them worked really well together and they totally transformed Lowry’s game. Perreault and Roslovic provide a much needed boost to the third line instead of Mark Letestu and Gabriel Bourque.
With both the second and third lines playing so well, maybe Little gets put on the fourth line to give them a boost. Having such a solid veteran on the fourth line might give the Jets a much needed boost in their bottom six.
4) The PK still sucks
The Jets began the game with the league’s worst penalty kill at 60%. That’s a really bad number. Somehow the Jets managed to make that number even worse as they went 0-1 on the penalty kill in this one. It only took 16 seconds for Mathew Barzal to capitalize after Dmitry Kulikov went to the box for tripping.
The Jets need to figure this out ASAP or else they will keep letting their opposition get back into the game.
Overall, this game should give fans a little bit of hope considering the team played well and likely deserved a better result. Heading into the second half of this homestand, the Jets will need to find a way to get back to their winning ways and flip the streak back to a positive one.