Looking ahead: Jets and their schedule
I saw this tweet in my timeline but I can't recall who tweeted it but it's rather fascinating on what's coming for the Jets in terms of the schedule and opposition.
Friday vs St. Louis- Fired Coach
Sunday vs Philadelphia- Fired GM
Tuesday vs Chicago- Fired Coach
Thursday vs Edmonton- Fired Coach
Friday at Chicago- Fired Coach
The Jets then play their next home game vs the Lightning and other than LA and Vancouver the schedule takes a major shift.
So far the Jets have weathered their injury storm on the blue line relatively well. The losses to Pittsburgh and Minnesota were unfortunate given the leads but since then the Jets have been somewhat solid aside from some luck on their recent three game road trip, the best game coming against the Islanders.
While the Islanders game may not have been the most exciting it was a game which required the team to manage a roster without Copp, Byfuglien, Morrissey, Kulikov, or Morrow. Probably the most important part of the roster equation in that game was the play of Connor Hellebuyck who stayed cool and collected between the pipes and at times got some good fortune. Just like scoring goals you need some good luck their too.
So what comes of the schedule and this odd sort of run based on coaching and management changes?
Last night the Oilers and Blues ended up in a 3-2 SO win for the Oilers. The Flyers beat the Penguins 4-2 in their last game, Chicago lost to Anaheim 4-2 and by the time the Jets play Edmonton they will have played the Wild just before coming to Winnipeg. Given the three game road trip with an OT win, SO win and regulation win is a sense of stability coming to the Jets that they can take into this next run of 5 games?
Teams need to build on good habits and eliminate the bad ones and in some capacities the Jets did that on this past road trip, at least in a reduction in some of the bad habits or tendencies. Now in the comforts of home can the Jets get healthy and confident in their play and identity? The team that people expect to see showed up in a big way during that 3rd period against the Rangers and while dull, the game against the Islanders showed a patient and more disciplined team adjusting to what the home team was doing.
If you go back in time to Dec 6 2017 the Jets had played 28 games and sat with a 17-7-4 record for 38 points, second in Central and third in Western Conference. By January 6th they had played 42 games and were first in the Centra and second in the Western Conference with 55 points 24-11-7 and at this point they were getting health and affirming their identity and is that something about to happen now?
That's the hope and perhaps it's entirely possible too as this stretch to games against teams that either have underperformed or not performed is the opportunity any team to cement it's identity. In regards to identity Paul Maurice, who receives a lot of heat (some deserved and some not), had mentioned before that the team needed to establish it's identity this year, all over again. Perhaps that's starting to happen and given the injuries and some inconsistent play by various players the Jets are succeeding because they are good but not playing at potential. It was this time last year that the team began to realize and believe in it's potential. Yes that's a nice revisionist narrative but the timelines add up and it might be reproduced this season.
Putting the proverbial foot on the gas these next 4-5 games against teams coming out of some sort of turmoil might be the best way to cement an identity and make the Jets become the team they can be. It won't happen without effort and change and hopefully this past 3 game road trip reminded the Jets of what it takes to be a top team when you are prey and not the hunter.