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Outshot, but were the Jets outplayed?

January 16, 2019, 8:41 AM ET [20 Comments]
Peter Tessier
Winnipeg Jets Blogger •Winnipeg Jets Writer • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Last night it seemed that all anyone wanted to look at was the shot counter. We'll for one thing it was a bit more exciting than the game between the Jets and Golden Knights in the first period but if your jam is excellent goaltending and then incredible goaltending after that then this game was for you.

Laurent Brossoit, the Jets goalie, put forth a stellar effort for 60 minutes. In the lone goal that beat him it almost seemed unfair to criticize him but he probably should have had it given all the other stops he made last night. Needless to say there will be some who want to create a goalie controversy for the Jets but there is none to had unless last night's performance does not earn Brossoit a few more starts.

The Jets did not play as poorly as the shot clock would say though. Many of those shots (11) were on the six power plays the Golden Knights had along with a decent two-man advantage. Compared to the Jets' 5 shots in 4 minutes the number of shots allowed is impressive and a credit to the Jets. If shot attempts are considered then the margin goes to 19-5 for Vegas with only 4 minutes compared to the 10:20 the visitors had.

The shot attempts favored Vegas even strength but it was not as lopsided as the shot clock would suggest, 43-35. If you looked at the Jets opportunities there were some very good ones that simply did not end up on net that in other cases might have given the underlying aspects of luck and chance. What Vegas did do though was work their gaps and transition game and they did it well.

As written in the last blog, Scott Campbell- @NHLCampbell who saw the Vegas skate the day before, had much to say about the techniques and look the Golden Knights were practicing and it was on display last night. Their attack against a passive Jets defense yielded a huge gains when they entered the zone and their fast regroup in the neutral zone was able to force a some turnovers and missed plays as the Jets tried to transition.

It's something to admire as the system that Gerard Gallant has the Knights playing is tough to match in intensity and for many players and teams it must be frustrating to deal with. The Jets found a way though and it was by seizing opportunity. While Brossoit is largely responsible for allowing those opportunities to be ones to give the Jets the lead both Kyle Connor and Mathieu Perreault had to make them happen. Connor's 17th goal came shorthanded as he managed to gain possession after a race for the puck and beat Fleury who was also playing well. Perreault did almost the same thing but came in from a different angle cutting across the crease and then beating Fleury to give the Jets a 2-0 lead they held onto into the third.

Certainly it was touch and go as the Knights had a PP to open the third period but it was after the PP ended that they came within one goal and then that's when the Jets pushed back. They controlled play and shot attempts to force Vegas to play more in their own end and with more than a few decent chances.

One observation that has been noted by myself on Twitter a few times this year is the desire for the Jets to create the best scoring chance. It's something the players and coach have spoken about a few times over the past year but is it the right move. The Jets pay for various data and tacking for use in their tactics and strategy and I wonder if they are seeing something with scoring chances.

Often it appears they give up a 'grade B' chance in search of a 'grade A' chance and get nothing. That's an eye-test observation but when you see it enough it brings tactics into question and a fw times last night it appears some shooting lanes with players in position were ignored even if they weren't perfect. Then in desperation, shots were taken that were easily blocked and retrieved by Vegas that were a result of not taking the simple and smart play earlier.

The Jets won the game though sealing the deal with 2 empty net goals from Connor and Scheifele, the latter coming from a Connor pass that could have been his hat trick goal. That being said redemption was there for the fans after the Knights eliminated the Jets last spring to go on to the Stanley Cup final. They will not all be pretty wins but this was a game many felt was a test for the Jets and they did pass. It may have been a C+ grade but as my son likes to say, "C's get degrees" and in the Jets case no one will look back at this 2 points and turn there nose up at them come April.
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