Winnipeg Jets Continue Bumpy Ride
The struggles for the Winnipeg Jets continued at MTS Centre and not surprisingly, the boo birds were out during a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets are just 1-4 in their last five games and have produced a mere nine goals during that span. At 5-8-2, the Jets have been a disappointment in their third season back in the NHL.
The game against the Hawks showcased the struggles of a seemingly fragile team. After playing the defending Stanley Cup champions evenly in the opening period, it fell apart in the middle frame. The Jets gave up an early go-ahead goal to Brandon Bollig and things snowballed from there.
The Hawks netted three goals in less than five minutes to essentially put the game away. A timeout from head coach Claude Noel and a goaltending change from Ondrej Pavelec to Al Montoya did very little to inspire his team. The Jets are extremely reliant on Pavelec to give them an opportunity to win on a nightly basis, and he simply needs to be better.
There’s no doubt that Noel’s seat is getting hotter with each passing defeat. This was perceived as an important season for the Jets and as of now, things are on the verge of falling off the rails. Andrew Ladd has been a proven leader during his career, and the two-time Stanley Cup winner and Jets captain will be relied on to try and hold things together during these trying times.
The Jets don’t have a great deal of depth up front, but they do have players like Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane who are capable of putting up some good offensive numbers. However, the team’s all-around defensive play has been spotty. The Hawks made the Jets pay for their turnovers with a quick transition game that led to goals. Until that issue gets shored up, the struggles are likely to continue.
The Jets have been involved in a number of tight contests that haven’t gone their way so far this season. In a campaign where much was expected, there’s been very little to get excited about so far.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports