Sometimes, in modern sports, there are “scheduled losses”. Not games where the loss is almost guaranteed, but just games where modern travel and scheduling for television impacts the result. I am not saying this was the reason, but damn, after a game like the Wild one, I bet this one was tougher to get up for, even if it was this week’s “Hometown Hockey” game.
Don’t get me wrong. The Jets were full value for their win. They played hard, and against a team just a tad less deep than them, at home, they were able to pull out the two points, which puts them a bit closer to the playoff line they will never get to this year, and giving them less ping pong balls than the Canucks at the moment.
- This one did not feature the Jet’s best line up, as Byfuglien and Laine were missing, as was Tobias Engstrom. It did feature Ryan Miller, who once again was very good in a losing effort. He has yet to win ( 0-5 now ) at the MTS Centre.
- Brock Boeser played his third game in three days ( and one of those was a double O/T playoff game where he was a first liner ). He was OK tonight, but you could see there was less in the tank. He finished with 2 shots on net in 3 attempts, in almost 18 minutes of work. Let’s give the kid the next skate off coach.
- The first period was almost a tale of two half periods. The Jets were the aggressors, with a lot of the play, in the first ten minutes or so. Miller was strong on Wheeler and Sheifele, with some great saves, and bailed out Edler after a head scratching turnover that gave Perrault ( who is a dirty player ) a great shot. Armia got a post instead of a goal, and it looked like it would be a long night.
- The Canucks started pushing back though. Even after Troy Stecher ( who did his UND alum teammate Boeser a solid when he sprung for tickets for 7 or so of the UND team in attendance, as Brock “ doesn’t have a credit card yet” ) got hurt and they were down to five defensemen for a bit, they became the aggressors. They put together 8 straight shots to even up the Corsi, and when Alex Biega ( playing on the fourth line, until becoming a defenseman after the Stecher injury ) tipped a shot and forced a great Hutchison save, it seemed the Canucks were even a little down trodden to not be in the lead.
- That came just as the first ended, on a standard hockey goal. The Canucks won a draw, forced the play around to the point, and an Edler shot went off Morrissey and in for another first goal for the team that has struggled to score first all season, but has now done that in four straight.
- Boeser showed some smart defensive play early in the second, and the Canucks looked to be continuing to push the game. But the Jets were at home, and are also the biggest team in the NHL. With their physical play, and strong down low play, they started to have shift after shift in the offensive end. Of course Mathieu Perreault ( yes, the dirty player, remember the Hansen hit ? ) tried to dive on a light push from Chris Tanev, and of course the refs were onto that from a guy with a rep like him. But it would only be a while before something happened for the home team.
- Perreault is a player teams like to have though. And he had a strong game, finishing with a goal, an assist, and 3 shots. Honestly, there are just some players your scribe hates, and after a dirty player makes lame excuses like he did that game where he injured Hansen, he makes the list.
- After a Joseph LaBate penalty, he was the guy at the end of a power play that simply moved it around too well for a PK missing half the regulars from injury, trade, or just getting to the team late in the year like Drew Shore. They hustled, they tried hard, and they got in lanes and blocked shots. But that power play has to get the credit, and so does Perreault for a high wrister that beat Miller after too many passes made in a row moved him around to get the opening. The game was tied, and the home team had the momentum to boot.
- The Canucks did have some push back. Reid Boucher had a good rush, but the rolling puck eluded the net, and Ehlers had a shot that forced a great save and the post, and then took a lap around the zone and got another chance. The Canucks even had a great chance to overcome a period they were outplayed in when Melchiori gave them a late power play when he slewfooted Sutter in front ( it was called interference ). The Sedins came out on the power play with Boeser, and almost scored after C Tanev hit the post, but with Hutchison laying on the ice, his shot on the rebound found his glove.
- The third period was low even hockey, interspersed with chances at both ends. ( the shots were only 7-5 Canucks in the final stanza ), before Michael Chaput took a high sticking call on Scheifele. Once again, it would be the PK that was the downfall on this night. This one really could have turned out the other way, as Sven Baertschi got a two on one with Horvat. He was stopped on the shot, however, and the play went back up ice. With he and Bo still on the ice, Sven actually had a shot at clearing, but tried to chip the defenseman for another rush. The Jets kept it in, and Adam Lowry got a high glove side shot off that beat Miller cleanly for the leading goal.
- There was some push back. Bo Horvat had a chance at a couple pucks down low, and Henrik Sedin had a great chance that was denied late as well. They pulled the goaltender with over a couple minutes left, but the Jets were able to hold down the fort and come away with the win.
- The numbers pointed to a few things today. Usually, the giveaway / takeaway stat is useless to quote, as arena bias makes that stat almost unusable. But even with the various rinks having various interpretations, the Jets having a 10-2 edge in takeaways is telling of their stronger forecheck on the night. The faceoffs were close, with the Jets edging the visitors 21-19, while the Canucks blocked 9 to 6 for the home team. The hit stats spoke to the heavy forecheck as well, as the Jets put up 21 to 8 for the Canucks, while outshooting their guests 27-22.
In the end, this late March game will have no bearing on the playoff race, and there is little shared hatred between the teams right now to give it a little juice ( I am guessing if Hansen was still here it would...he no doubt would have remembered Perreault ). The Canucks will go home with the good feelings from Boeser’s debut tempered a bit, and of course the Jets and their fans will feel better about winning than losing.
But that is about it. See you next week...