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Beyak: Jets offence continues to struggle on the road

Dennis Beyak
2/5/2012 10:56:01 PM
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After a 3-0 loss in Montreal on Sunday, the Winnipeg Jets go home with a 2-2 record in the four game post all-star road trip.  With that said, if you include their two games before the break, they had a 2-4 record during their 'six straight' on the road.

The offense struggled on the trip with six goals scored in the six games, and they were shut out twice, putting the number of times the Jets have been blanked to seven times.

The road schedule does not get any easier.  After their home game on Tuesday against Toronto (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), the Jets are right back on the road for games in Washington and Pittsburgh. In the past five games the Jets have averaged just under 23 shots per game, down from their season average of just under 30.

The short term challenge is to try and find some goals, while the longer term challenge is to stay in the playoff hunt until mid-February when the team starts an eight game homestand.

With Montreal leading 1-0 after one on Sunday, the Jets gave up a shorthanded goal and a power play goal to fall behind 3-0 after two. Carey Price made a big save off Bryan Little early in the third, then two more off Antti Miettinen as he picked up his third shut-out of the season with 23 saves. Jets outshot the Canadiens 8-1 in the third.

A key stat in the game is that the Jets took 24 shots that missed the net. Those misses not only took away the opportunity for the initial shot to go in, but also eliminated a rebound chance.

Coach Claude Noel did not dress Eric Fehr for the game, saying simply "We need Eric to be better." Spencer Machachek played his second game since being called up from St. John's and finished the game with four shots, second to Miettinen who had five. 

"We looked like a tired hockey club," stated Noel after the game.

The Jets finished a stretch of 4 games in 5 and a half days, all on the road. Add to the pressure and frustration of not being able to score, and it was a taxing trip.

"Our best players gave us no lift on the first period power play, in fact it seemed to give them a lift. Our power play was not good, and that was a reflection of our game." added Noel. "Our decision making was not good, our energy level looked like a team that had been on the road for two weeks. We will need to find some energy for Tuesday."

Players know they have to stay positive and focussed as feeling sorry for yourself accomplishes nothing. They knew this stretch of nine of 11 on the road was going to be a challenge, the roughest part of their schedule.

Having leading goal scorer Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton out does not help, but all teams go through injuries, and players will be the first to tell you that.

The Bloggers: TSN Radio 1290 broadcasters Dennis Beyak and Brian Munz cover the Winnipeg Jets all season long. Manitoba-native Beyak is the play-by-play announcer for Jets regional games on TSN Jets and on TSN Radio 1290. Munz serves as a commentator for Jets broadcasts on TSN Radio 1290. Munz had previously been the voice of the Manitoba Moose.

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