The Winnipeg Jets are in spoiler mode now as they are all but out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Last night’s task at home was to knock off the New York Rangers who are fighting for the #1 seed in the East.
They got off to a nice start with Spencer Machacek scoring his second of the season, a softie between the wickets of Henrik Lundqvist. Machacek now has seven points in eight games with the Jets and is playing for a job next season. He is doing filling in for the injured Nik Antropov and has found some chemistry on a line with Tim Stapleton and Ben Maxwell.
The fourth line has provided a nice spark of late, and it’s been one of the things to be happy about despite the Jets slipping out of the playoff race. They’re eight points out with only five games left.
The Jets were looking good with a 2-0 lead in the second period until the wheels fell off. I don’t like blaming goaltenders, but Ondrej Pavelec gave up a couple of short-side goals that he should have had. On both Michael Del Zotto and Brian Boyle’s goals, he was not strong enough on his post. Those types of goals are demoralizing for a team and the Del Zotto goal, which was shorthanded and cut the Jets’ lead to 2-1. That first one really took the wind out of their sails and turned the tide of the game, with the Rangers eventually winning it 4-2.
It was all over after Boyle’s goal to take the lead, as the Jets started hanging their heads after falling behind. This is not all Pavelec’s fault, as he made some strong saves in this game, but giving up sharp-angle goals kills a team’s morale.
I’m confident that Pavs will bounce back, but he can’t be an elite goaltender until he finds a level of consistency and cuts down on the soft goals.
EA Sports is now deciding their NHL 13 cover athlete by fan voting. The first round opened today and will let fans pick one of two players from each NHL team. The Jets nominees are Andrew Ladd and Evander Kane. In the next round, the top 16 move on and after that, a bracket-style tournament format will be used to for fans to choose one player or another in head-to-head matchups.