Jets Vexed By Shesterkin and Co.
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The Set Up
With the panic in Winnipeg muted by a string of wins, the Jets were free to exhale. Kyle Connor was selected as the NHL’s second star of the week with 3 goals and 5 assists in 4 games. Andrew Copp had 5 points in 5 games and was earning accolades. And, Connor Hellebuyck was still very much on a trajectory worthy of a Vezina trophy.
Add to that, two of the Winnipeg 1.0's greatest alumni in Thomas Steen and Randy Carlyle were getting inducted into the Jets’ Hall of Fame, providing the makings of an enjoyable Tuesday night. I added whiskey and a puppy to mine, so despite the Jets’ unfortunate undertakings, it remained thus.
Coming in, the Rangers were kind of unsure if they were an aspiring playoff team or not. A full 11 points out of a wildcard spot should have answered that question for them, but hope is a funny thing, isn’t it Jets fans?
Of course, everyone still had the Trouba trade in mind at the onset of this game, so here goes:
Trouba: GP: 54 / G: 7 / A: 16 / P: 23 / +/-: -10 / TOI: 22:56 / CF%: 44.2% / oZS%: 43.1%
Pionk: GP: 57 / G: 6 / A: 31 / P: 37 / +/-: +6 / TOI: 23:30 / CF%: 50.8% / oZS%: 55.4%
Lemieux: GP: 43 / G: 6 / A: 9 / P: 15 / +/-: -11 / TOI: 13:29 / CF%: 41.8% / oZS%: 45.8%
Let’s get one thing out of the way here, Trouba is the better player. He has less points because DeAngelo plays the point on the powerplay and so can’t accrue all those secondary assists from playing catch with all-star scorers. The guy is bigger than Pionk, more physical, and obviously used more as a defensive defenseman with only 43% offensive zone deployment to Pionk’s 55%.
Still, at his price, and less a Heinola, it’s obvious who won the trade. Unfortunately, that would be the only gloatable take from tonight’s tango with the Rangers. Anyone else miss Lemieux and his antagonism?
The Jets started this one with almost three minutes of solid pressure in the Rangers’ zone. All the attempts would come from the outside, but it was nice to see the disc in the oppositions’ end. When New York finally did get a shot on net, it was a tricky deflection that Hellebuyck had to kick away with the right pad.
Their second opportunity would be better though, when ole Jakey Trouba wristed a royal one on that Helle had to snare with the trapper. Next, Nathan Beaulieu, with the Rangers on a line change, made a sweet stretch-pass to Harkins, who upped it quick to Roslovic racing in. Shesterkin though, damn.
Before I pour the praise on this rather impressive, young netminder, I will have to report the facts. Shesterkin is a poor actor. I say this because of the hilarious writhing displayed after taking a shoulder to the helmet during a front crease battle between DeAngelo and Copp. Someone needs to explain to the kid that concussion victims don’t writhe, get up, and then fall down and writhe again. In general, what happens is they just lay down and look at stars. Should have been easy Igor.
It took awhile, but after the concussion spotter was finished eating his pizza and cheeseburger, he made his way onto the ice and forced Shesterkin to go work on his acting for a bit. Good thing they have the King to backup.
Beaulieu continued to warm Jet lovers hearts by putting Pavel Buchnevich on his ass after a decent cut in and shot. He skated off gingerly, but would get back on the horse a couple plays later…
…When he backhanded one to Kreider blowing the zone and going in alone. The UFA would make ‘em pay with a burst of speed and the ole forehand backhand move.
I guess Shester-fried, no longer intermittently writhing on the ice, was deemed healthy to play again, because he did.
An early Jets' PP gave Laine the opportunity to put one off the outside of the post. Still with the man-advantage, Scheifele released a one-timer from the bumper, but the Ranger netminder was able to find her.
Kreider-man was at it again, when he found a rebound right after Hellebuyck took away a sure thing from Tony DeAngelo. How is Helle supposed to save that? The answer: he’s not.
Some seriously good passing by the Rangers resulted in Panarin getting a point-blank chance that Helle fought off with the shoulder. Then, Laine stricken by Shester-fried Chicken, battled in front with Ryan Lindgren and both came up with penalties. It was nice to see the fight in the lads though.
On the ensuing 4 on 4, Kreider just about challenged Ranger fans in Winnipeg on the level of loyalty they had for their head-ware. Opportunities abounded at each end, including a brilliantly set up backdoor play for Morrissey. Sadly, the pass was out of reach and the puck hit the side of the net.
We wouldn’t have to bother with 3rd period suspense as the Rangers put it away fairly quickly. First, with Ryan Strome collecting a rebound, spinning and firing to give his team the 3-goal lead.
And then seconds later, as Zibanejad finished the feed from Buchnevich behind the net. Safe to say, this is where I lost hope.
The Jets did score one courtesy of Ehlers and the PP, but did anyone hold any hope for a comeback? Really? Why?
Wheeler whipped one from in front, and Copp was stopped off the 2 on 1. Right up until the end, Shesterkin shined, stopping Ehlers on the PP from bulging the twine. It really sucked.
The Rangers won, bringing themselves to within 9 points of a playoff birth with 27 games to go. So are they a playoff team? No, they aren't. Kreider’s probably still going to St Louis or Boston soon enough and the Rangers will pick somewhere just before the Jets in the 2020 NHL draft. I guess they could always pay another free agent 11 million dollars.
As for the Jets, an “off night” is what the captain called it. I guess you could say that. But, what exactly, was off? The Jets recorded 44 shots on the Rangers’ young netminder. They drew four penalties to the Rangers one. They hit two posts, and received decent goaltending from Hellebuyck.
So… execution? Yeah, that was off tonight, but it will be on occasion. Was it a bad game? Not by my eye. Go ahead and panic if you want, but the Jets are playing the Sharks Friday, so I’m going to hold out at least until then.
That one’s at 6:00 PM.