Winnipeg— They say not to go to bed angry, but if the Winnipeg Jets are able to fall asleep tonight, without anger coursing through their veins, that is a serious problem. The Winnipeg Jets third contest of the season, a match-up taking place in front of thousands of Jets fans who made the trek down to Phoenix to see the contest against the former Winnipeg Jets, featured miscues, blown assignments, soppy play and enough problems to account for a few extra grey hairs on the scalp of head coach Claude Noel.
The Jets took to the ice in Glendale, to dueling chants of Go Jets Go and Let’s Go Coyotes. After two rousing national anthems, the Jets apparently were waiting around for a third national anthem to be played, as the Coyotes opened the scoring a mere 34 seconds into the contest on a goal by Daymond Langkow, assists to Ray Whitney and Shane Doan. Oliver Ekman Larsson would score the first of his two goals on the night nine minutes later after some sloppy work by the Jets in their end zone. The Jets first period resembled that of a first game of an exhibition season, rather than the third game of the regular season.
The second period began much like the first one ended, with the Jets going down by three goals after Ekman Larsson potted his second of the night, with 5 minutes to go in the period. With pleas coming from the Twitterverse for someone in a Jets uniform to step up and make the third period a period worth watching, Jets captain Andrew Ladd made a beautiful tip on a shot from the point by Tobias Enstrom, and the Jets were within two goals after 40 minutes.
Alas, that was as close as the Jets would come, as the third period saw Ray Whitney put a puck behind embattled Jets net-minder Chris Mason, who performed admirably all night long and did everything he could to keep the Jets competitive. The Jets had chances in the third period, namely a penalty shot that had been awarded to Nik Antropov, and a goal that was disallowed after the referee issued a mysterious interference penalty to Evander Kane, but all in all it was the worst effort the Jets have put forth early on in this NHL season.
Simply put, it is back to the drawing board for the Jets and head coach Claude Noel. It appears his strategy of mixing and matching line combinations on a whim, has not worked and it might be time to put his supposed horses together on the top 2 lines to see if that will turn around the Jets fortunes. It won’t be any easier, as come Monday, the Pittsburgh Penguins come to Winnipeg for the Jets second home game of this season.
1) Oliver Ekman Larsson
2) Mike Smith
3) Shane Doan
Next game: Pittsburgh at Winnipeg, 7:30 PM, Monday October 17, 2011