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Winnipeg Jets fall to the Sharks, 4-3

October 17, 2021, 8:24 AM ET [1 Comments]
Guest Writer
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In the season opener for the San Jose Sharks, the Winnipeg Jets came into this game on a quest for their first win. Heavy focus on the powerplay which went 0/5 Wednesday against the Ducks, which also went 0/3 tonight. This team will certainly be looking at fixing this in practice.

Pierre-Luc Dubois opens the scoring for this game just over four minutes in. Parked out front, Dubois was able to pick up the rebound and put it past Adin Hill for his first goal of the season. After a season he admits felt like he wasn’t his true self, he has started this season on the right foot, and has made a big step since Wednesday. As I mentioned in the preview for this game, it is good to see the Jets (I mentioned Wheeler and Dubois specifically) getting traffic out front, and it paid off. Though throughout the game, the team struggled to be with the open man out front in their own end.

The Winnipeg Jets as a whole came out fairly strong. Despite giving up a few preventable odd-man rushes, they had created lots of offence in the first period. The blue-line had the puck a lot and made some smart plays throughout the game, tallying 4 assists from the back end. Cole Perfetti also took the chance to show off some of his skills, notably his vision and IQ of the game. The way he can see the ice and know the perfect play is making its way into the NHL level already. Sure, it will take some time to grow, but certainly some flashes of brilliance early on. He did end up being put on the fourth line later in the game, as Head Coach Paul Maurice switched up some lines to see if they could get some spark.

Andrew Copp buries a shorthanded goal set up by a combination of a great forecheck by Adam Lowry, and miscommunication between Adin Hill and Erik Karlsson.

Andrew Cogliano matched the goal for the Sharks by scoring his own shorthanded goal just minutes later on a 2-on1. The powerplay is still struggling, and although their entries have looked good, they gave up a shorthanded goal on a Blake Wheeler pinch that shouldn't have happened, as well as a poor positional play by Pionk. In the offensive zone, they seemed to have a hard time settling things down, and setting up, as San Jose would chase them down until they could clear it. This also is due to some risky decision making on the top unit. There is lots of potential with all of the talent here, but they just can't find a way to put it all together so far.

With just under 7 minutes to go in the second period, Jasper Weatherby pots his first NHL goal. On a play where almost every Jets player seemed out of position, Dylan DeMelo fails to cover his man and Weatherby takes a great shot and cleanly beats Connor Hellebuyck.
A big story in this game comes from the lack of discipline this team showed. San Jose ended up with 5 powerplays, and although the penalty kill looked good at times, they gave up 2 and were also bailed out by Hellebuyck on a few occasions.

The team played quite physically tonight, which cost them a few of the penalties. It is quite interesting to see two teams meet for the first time since February 2020, have so much emotion, and pretty much right out of the gates. There were fights, and net-front scrums, including after the Sharks fourth goal after Rudy Balcers buried the rebound and gets a shot from Kyle Connor, sending Balcers crashing into Hellebuyck. It is good to see the physical response from this team, but they need to be more disciplined.

After a pretty forgettable second period, and slow coming out of the third, the Jets picked up the pace after Connor Hellebuyck was almost caught out of his net giving the Sharks an empty net, but the goal was waived off for offside, which wasn't in question for anybody. From this point on the Jets seemed to turn it up a notch, with Jansen Harkins scoring from just above the goal line to bring them within one.

With the net empty, the Jets really struggled to keep the puck and make the transition through the neutral zone, and when they finally did, Adin Hill had a great series of saves and catches the win for San Jose.

Connor Hellebuyck had a fair performance, and although giving up 4 goals, he was hung out to dry on multiple chances. There are a lot of positives to take from the defenseman on this team, but it seems as if the system they are playing doesn't feel like they are all on the same page. It is early in the season, and it's a different feeling than all of last season to be playing normal hockey again, but I will be looking for the defensive structure to settle in with the players more over the next few games.

Thank you for reading, let me know what you thought about this game, and let's hope the Jets can find their first win against Minnesota on Tuesday.
By Jacob Billington
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