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Making a Goalie Look Good: The Winnipeg Jets and Jonas Hiller

A look at the Jets shots in the 1st period.

Ed note: Following last night’s disheartening 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, the popular opinion among Winnipeg Jets fans was that Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller saved the Flames in the first period, when he saved twelve of the thirteen shots he faced. Michael Remis went back and looked at Hiller’s performance in the first period last night, and in particular, looked at the quality of saves that he was forced to make.

Originally published at

Jonas Hiller was the second star of the game in the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 loss to Calgary on Sunday night. He stopped 34 of 35 shots faced and survived the Winnipeg Jets first period barrage of shots.

The eye test said the Jets dominated the first period, so did the stat sheet as they out corsi’ed the Flames 30-12. After just one period they were more than halfway to Friday night’s Corsi total for the entire game vs. the Nashville Predators.

During the Winnipeg Jets current four game losing streak where they have managed to score only two goals, the narrative has been that they were unable to capitalize on their chances.

That was how I felt about Sunday’s loss. But after I got home I turned on the Jets Condensed Replay on NHL Gamecenter it became more clear.

In the 13 shots on goal he faced, Jonas Hiller allowed only one goal and didn’t have to make any tough saves. This is in a period that was supposedly dominated by Winnipeg.

Here is a quick recap of every shot on goal in the dominant first period by the Winnipeg Jets. Each link goes to the video of that play on

1. Jonas Hiller on Bryan Little (1:51 in 1st, Wrist 15ft) – Trouba fires a shot from the point, Little deflects the puck, that hits a well positioned Hiller in the chest. Byfuglien has his ass in Hiller’s face but shoots a no look backhand wide.

2,3. Jonas Hiller on Toby Enstrom (2:50 in the 1st, Wrist 58 ft, Wrist 42 ft) – Enstrom takes two shots from the left boards. Hiller sees the shots clearly, the hit him in the pad and go into the corner.

4. Jonas Hiller on Mark Stuart (3:57 in the 1st, Wrist 48 ft) – Mark Stuart, shoots the puck on the ice from the blue line and Hiller pushes it out of harms way into the corner.

5.  Jonas Hiller on Dustin Byfuglien (4:38 in the 1st, Slap 58ft) – Byfuglien takes a slapshot from the blue line, Hiller has no problem seeing this one and deflects it into the corner.

6.  Jonas Hiller on Blake Wheeler (5:53 in the 1st, Slap 42 ft) – Wheeler wobbles a one timer towards/slap pass, Hiller gets his blocker on  it and it goes to the corner.

7.  Jonas Hiller on Jacob Trouba (11:35 in the 1st, Wrist 9 ft) – Trouba makes a great play to rush the puck towards the net but is checked as he moves towards Hiller from a sharp angle. The puck moves slowly towards Hiller and ends up in the corner.

8.  Jonas Hiller on Jim Slater (12:27 in the 1st, Wrist 11 ft) – Jim Slater is alone in front of the Flames goalie and Hiller flashes the leather. This is the best chance of the period, but unfortunately the Jets 4th line centre wasn’t able to capitalize.

9.  Jonas Hiller on Mathieu Perreault (15:39 in 1st, Wrist 20 ft) – A power play chance. Perreault receives a gift pass from Wheeler on his stick but isn’t able to get much wood on it and falls down in the process.

What about the shots that aren’t readily available at I had a hunch that would only bother to publish quality chances. But I went back to the replay and viewed them. Turns out my hunch was correct.

10.  Byfuglien shot on goal (9:20 in the 1st) – Snap, 43ft – from the boards near the goal line. Not much of a threat to score.

11.  Postma shot on goal (10:39 in 1st) – Wrist, 54ft – a soft shot from the boards at the blue line. Not much of a threat to score. Ate up and frozen by Hiller.

12.  Thorburn shot on goal (18:7 in 1st) Wrist, 30 ft. A shot from the boards at the top of the right circle. Not much of a threat to score. Swallowed up by Hiller.

The one that went in

13. Mark Scheifele assisted by Blake Wheeler & Mathieu Perreault (10:28 in 1st, Snap 15 ft) – a great tic-tac-toe passing play where the Jets most dynamic player received the puck on his stick in a prime scoring area.

Not included: Peluso shot off the post, a great scoring chance but the shot wouldn’t have been a goal even if the net was empty.

Photo Credit:  Colin Jensen

Photo Credit: Colin Jensen

Average distance of shots on goal by the Winnipeg Jets in the first period: 34.2 ft.

Many Jets fans walked away from Sunday night’s game with the feeling that the Jets dominated the first period and mailed in the final two.  After viewing the above shots on goal, it is obvious that not too many of the Jets’ shots were high quality scoring chances. While Jonas Hiller certainly deserves credit for making the saves he made, comparing the Jets shots on goal in the first period versus the Jets scoring chances in the first period, shows that Hiller made saves expected of him, on shots the Jets shouldn’t regularly expect to score on.