by Ryan Reyes
The Jets are .500 after 6 games into the 2017-2018 season. After losses to the Leafs and Flames they bounced back nicely with a 3 game winning streak by defeating the Oilers, Canucks and Hurricanes. Optimism was abundant and Jets nation was on a hockey high. Then the Blue Jackets came into town. They aren’t a cellar dwelling team anymore. They’re a well-oiled machine whose identity is similar to our Winnipeg Jets; a team built with speed and skill in mind. That speed and skill was on full display on Tuesday as the Blue Jackets beat the Jets to most of the pucks and really were just the faster team. It wasn’t even close. It was perplexing to see that the Jets didn’t have their legs under them. You could notice a few times that they were making slow reads.
A team can still be competitive even if they’re being beaten to the puck often but the odds heavily tilt in the other team’s favour if you’re giving away the puck. Although Christmas is still over 2 months away the Jets were in a giving mood and unfortunately the giveaways lead to Columbus goals. Many Jets fans were pointing out that Mason was weak in net and that Hellebuyck would have given us a better chance. Yes a couple goals were of the softer variety but the rest couldn’t be blamed on Mason. Fans forget that he made stellar saves in the first period and the score may have been 7-2 rather than 5-2. If our defense plays solid in his next couple of losses or if he lets in some terrible goals more often than not, then I’ll concede he’s slipping. You have to give Columbus credit.
They were faster and made far fewer mistakes than us. No need to panic just yet. It’s early in the season and by the 15-20 game mark we’ll be able to tell what this year’s version of the Winnipeg Jets are all about. Hoping we can bounce back against a tough Minnesota Wild team this Friday. This next little October stretch is filled with tough, competitive teams: Minnesota this Friday, at Pittsburgh on the 26th, at Columbus on the 27th, back home vs Pittsburgh on the 29th and at Minnesota on Halloween night. I would be fine if they were still .500 after that stretch, wouldn’t you?
Nikolaj Ehlers is off to an excellent start and is leading the team in points with 7 after 6 games(5 goals, 2 assists).
Side note: he was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week after leading the league in goals in the first week.
“Everybody feels bad for Steve because it’s not been the easiest start. But we know he’s a really good goalie and we haven’t given him a lot of help…” – Patrik Laine
Photos by Star Roxas and Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal