Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week in Review: The Winnipeg Jets Can't Win 'em All

Article written by The Comish - Winnipeg Correspondent Sportmentary Online Sports Talk
The Winnipeg Jets played three games this week but unfortunately it ended on a losing note to the Washington Capitals in front of the home town crowd. The Jets were playing a Capitals team that is second last in the NHL’s Eastern conference and were 2-6-1 on the road until yesterday afternoon. The Capitals are now 6-4-0 in their last 10 games after holding the Jets off the scoreboard despite being outshot.

The Jets had their usual issues yesterday including a porous power play and inability to generate offence or any real scoring chances. They did not have their ‘A’ game and it was a sloppy affair. They paid the price for it and now find themselves two points out of a playoff spot as they head out onto the road for four games in five nights.

Playoff talk had become all the rage just two days earlier as the Jets knocked off the New Jersey Devils 3-1 in a game that basically came down to the wire. Dustin Byfuglien's end to end rush with just over six minutes to play resulted in Andrew Ladd scoring the game winner that sent the home town fans off into the night thinking this team had turned the corner as they were finding ways to win close games.

This was never more apparent than in New York on Tuesday night where they caped off an impressive road trip with an improbably win at MSG, a place where they failed to score a goal last season. The heroes of the night were Evander Kane and Olli Jokinen who each potted two goals with Kane scoring the game winner in a wild third period. The Jets held on for dear life as the Rick Nash-less Rangers feverishly tried to tie the game in the dying moments.

The end result of the week finds the Jets at .500 with a 10-10-1 record good for second place in their division. They trail the Carolina Hurricanes by two points. Tampa Bay is two points behind the Jets and the Capitals appear to be finding their legs.

The Jets are proving that they are an average team. The highs are high and lows are low but one thing they are not is a contender. They will flirt with the eighth playoff spot because there are other teams on the same ‘plane’ as the Jets not because they are deserving of it. They are too inconsistent, their special teams are abysmal (although the PK has perked up recently) and they lack depth to overcome injuries.

Claude Noel likes to say they have to find ways to manage games, which I interpret to mean the obvious, which is they don’t have a superstar that can pick this team up on his shoulders and carry the team to victory. We all know it is not easy to find these superstars as they do not come along at regular intervals.

Ironically, the 2013 entry draft may have two of those players (Jones and McKinnon) but because the Jets are “who they thought they were” they will most likely miss out on an opportunity to snag one of them and make the playoffs. This will really throw a wrench into True North’s plan, which was to build through the draft and alienate some fair weather fans.

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