The Winnipeg Jets had a wealth of offence in their first two games of the season, which not surprisingly were both victories. However after netting five goals against both the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings, the production has dried up. They’ve managed a paltry seven goals in their last five games and have recorded just a single win during that span.
The Jets continued a concerning trend of slow starts in a 3-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at MTS Centre. Jets Head Coach Claude Noel used his timeout in the opening period to try and give his club a wakeup call after they had fallen behind 2-0. It was the same type of poor start that was their undoing in a 4-1 loss Friday night against Dallas. The lone bright spot on the home stand so far was a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Evander Kane netted a pair of goals while Al Montoya earned the shutout.
The Jet inconsistency has to end if they are to avoid being a non-playoff team for a third straight season. The heat is definitely on Noel to guide this group to the postseason as the organization has poured plenty of financial resources into keeping what they believe is a good core group together. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was also rewarded with an extension.
The return of the Jets to Winnipeg three seasons ago was a tremendous story for a hockey mad market, but the honeymoon period is coming to an end. The pressure is mounting on Noel and the team needs more productivity out of some of its better players. Offensively talented defenseman Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien are leading the team in scoring while Michael Frolik has been a nice addition on the forward ranks as he’s tied with Bryan Little and Kane with five points so far. However, there have been some disappointments with Blake Wheeler notching just three points in seven contests, while veteran Olli Jokinen and youngster Mark Scheifele haven’t been able to get untracked either.
The Jets have a solid goalie in Ondrej Pavelec; but there are too many nights where the team is in trouble if he surrenders more than two goals. The team also needs to be better in the discipline department as they have been shorthanded on far too many occasions this young season. There’s no denying this is a key campaign for the Jets and the mood at MTS Centre will definitely sour if their current losing ways continue for much longer.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports