The Winnipeg Jets are off to a sluggish start to the season. After opening up the year with two wins, the Jets have dropped their last three games, leaving them with a record of 2-3 on the season. They didn’t just lose in those games; they were completely dominated in all of them.
So what’s wrong with the Jets? Why are they getting outshot, out-chanced and out-played in nearly all of their games?
The Jets are getting out-possessed for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the Jets are having trouble gaining the offensive zone. As a result, there are a lot of failed dump-and-chase plays. When the Jets do set up a cycle, it usually ends with a poor pass or a miscue.
The Jets have been hemmed in on the defensive side of things. Opponents have had all the room in the world to cycle and find the open man. It’s been a walk in the park for opponents on most nights. Obviously, that’s an issue.
The individual talent is there on defense, but the defensive play as a team is failing. Is there a problem within the system? The Jets have to play better in front of Ondrej Pavelec because he’s bailed them out on more than a few occasions.
Let’s take a look at some statistics.
The Jets are averaging 27.4 shots per game, which ranks them 25th in the NHL. They’re also averaging 33.8 shots against per game, which ranks them 24th. Clearly, they have to possess the puck more than they are now.
Another telling stat that greatly affects possession is faceoffs won.
The Jets are second-to-last in the entire NHL in faceoff-win percentage, only winning 42.6 percent of their faceoffs per game. Until the game against the Dallas Stars on Friday night, the Jets were woeful in this category. There’s hope they turn it around.
There’s no doubt about it, the Jets have to keep control of the puck more. They have to control the flow of the game offensively. Sometimes, offense can be your best defense.
It hasn’t been pretty and the fans are letting them know with a lot of booing. It's still early to get it turned around, but the mistakes have to be fixed immediately.