There are a couple ways you can look at tonight’s final meeting between the Winnipeg Jets. You can stick your head in the oven as you watched the Hawks give up another 3rd period lead late and then followed it up by surrendering the go-ahead goal a few seconds later.
Or you can acknowledge that perhaps this is the luck of hockey and this sort of thing happens sometimes after 78 games in a row of holding 3rd period leads.
Either way, it kinda sucks.
–Perhaps the most frustrating part of tonight’s result is the Hawks probably deserved better. Save for about a combined minute, this was one of their more complete games of the season.
And then on the other side, there was the Jets who looked like they’ve basically tuned out whatever Paul Maurice is trying to get them to do. The Jets were a complete mess in their own end with no structure to their defense.
Take Nick Schmaltz’s goal as the prime example. 4 Jet players stood and watched as Schmaltz gathered the puck in the corner, did a power turn with no one on him, looked around, waited a second and then took the puck to the net. Even as he got within five feet of Conor Hellebuyck, still no Jet player stepped up on him
That was just a scoring play I can recall off the top of my head. There were several other opportunities the Hawks created that just aren’t there against other opponents who give a damn in their defensive zone. The Hawks had open passing lanes in the offensive zone like they haven’t seen all year.
So yes, this is probably what is most frustrating about this loss.
–The second most frustrating thing is that once again TVR played a starring role in a 3rd period collapse with absolutely no repercussions. Prior to the Jets tying goal, the Teflon Don allowed a prime scoring opportunity by covering the wrong player in front of the net.
With two Jets standing near Darling and the puck behind Darling’s left shoulder, TVR chose to cover the guy on the side of the net with a zero percent chance of getting a pass. Naturally, the puck went to the guy in the high slot who got off a wicked one-timer. Only a terrific save by Darling bailed him out.
Oh, but it wasn’t over yet. The puck then worked its way around to the Winnipeg point. Hypnotized by the puck, TVR (and Keith) allowed Andrew Copp to glide across the crease, easily tip the puck out of the air and past Scott Darling for the tying goal.
We know the Hawks aren’t physical with guys in front of their own net so that’s not what anyone should be moaning about. However, they do make a point to tie up sticks to prevent such easy goals.
Don’t worry, though, TVR was right back out there and didn’t miss a shift. If you’re keeping track, that’s 4 straight goals against TVR has been on the ice for in the 3rd period and in 3 of those 4 goals, he played a starring role. Imagine the reaction from the coaching staff and broadcast booth if that was Brian Campbell or Michael Kempny.
In other news, Michael Kempny played under 9 minutes because he made a bad pass in the second period that allowed a few extra seconds of zone time for Winnipeg.
–Other very odd doings included Vince Stroh’s only getting 5 minutes of ice time. Unless there was some sort of injury or he left the bench for some reason, this seems very odd. In his limited ice time, Hinostroza was basically a one-man breakout by utilizing his speed and creating offense single-handedly.
–Not a great night again for the Russians as they combined for a -6. I suppose if we’re looking reasons to be optimistic, everyone else played well enough that their lack of scoring shouldn’t have made a difference. The All-Star break is coming at the perfect time for them as Panarin and Anisimov have seemed to be dragging a bit here in the last couple weeks or so.
–Jonathan Toews seems to be trending in the right direction. On the podcast, I discussed how Toews seems to be missing that burst he had in his first few years that allowed him to create how odd man rushes, get himself out of trouble etc. Small sample size be damned, Toews has looked more like the Toews of old in these last two games. Tonight, he was flying again and had 4 shots on net including a breakaway.
The only reason his breakaway in the third period didn’t go in was because Hellebuyck moved his leg a split second quicker and kicked the puck to the corner. The wrap would probably look a lot different if he didn’t.
–And so here we are at the break. Thank goodness for that. When the Hawks return, they’ll be on the road for an extended stretch with the first stop in San Jose. They usually play a strong game there so that’s something to look forward to. Until then.