Plain and simply, the Winnipeg Jets have been just awful. Following what was a rather strong seven-game homestand, the 18-wheeler has seemingly plowed through the guardrail and gone right off the cliff.
It has been a horrible stretch of hockey that has seen the team’s five-on-five, power play and penalty kill cost Winnipeg on a nightly basis.
Sticking with their current theme of weak play, the Jets suffered another loss on Friday afternoon, this time at the hands of the Central Division’s Minnesota Wild. Facing off in an afternoon American Thanksgiving matinée, the visitors were unable to wake themselves up in time, giving up two goals in the early going.
Just 52 seconds in, Connor Hellebuyck gave up another first-shot goal, this time surrendering a long-range bouncer from defenceman Alex Goligoski. The opening goal came on the first shot of the game by either team. Then just seven minutes later, Mats Zuccarello got a weird bound to drop into the net, giving Minnesota a 2-0 lead on just his team’s third shot of the game.
The second period didn’t start much better for Winnipeg either. Just 2:04 in, Ryan Hartman banged home a rebound on a Kirill Kaprizov wrist shot. The rebound marker gave Minny a 3-0 lead. Then just 45 seconds later, Hellebuyck saw his night come to an early end as Zuccarello found his second of the game on another strong play from Kaprizov.
Outshooting Winnipeg 21-6 in the middle stanza, the Wild found their third goal of the frame and fifth of the game 9:35 into the period. Moments after a failed Dubois/Svechnikov two-on-one, John Merrill beat Comrie with a weak shot glove side, on a rush up ice.
With Minnesota heavily outplaying Winnipeg in that second period, the Jets seemed to resort to violence as a way of solving their problems. With frustration piling up, Nathan Beaulieu, Evgeny Svechnikov and Logan Stanley each inflicted mini scrums on three different occasions.
Luckily for the Jets, the Wild power play has not been operating at a surplus.
It wasn’t on a man advantage, but Minnesota made it look like power play as Rem Pitlick found Mat Dumba for a great-looking one-timer goal. The cross-ice passing play gave the home team a 6-0 lead.
Dubois got the Jets on the board with a late-game power play marker that ended the team’s shutout streak at 164:41. But just 14 seconds later, Kaprizov scored another one for the Wild, sealing the deal on a 7-1 Minnesota victory. Winnipeg has now won just one of its last eight games at Xcel Energy Center.
Connor Hellebuyck gave up four goals on 14 shots, before his replacement Eric Comrie turned aside 21 of the 24 Wild shots he faced in replacement. Cam Talbot stopped 30 shots while giving up just one goal.
Whether it be a string of bad luck, poor on-ice decision or lineup adjustments that haven’t been made, the Jets have not been a good hockey team over the past week-and-a-half. Things will not get any better as the team travels to Alberta for a Saturday night battle with the red-hot Flames. That 9:00 PM central matchup will be available to view on Sportsnet.