On January 19th, hockey finally returned! With the lockout over, the shortened 2013 NHL season officially started. For the Jets, their first game of 48 this season would be at home, against the Ottawa Senators. The Jets ended up losing the game 4-1, with their lone goal coming from Dustin Byfuglien, on a 1st period powerplay. With less games this season, the Jets must bounce back as soon as possible if they hope to make the playoffs, and cannot afford any early season slump.
The 1st period
The Jets came out very strong in the 1st period. The first line of Wellwood – Jokinen – Kane created many scoring chances. The 2nd line of Wheeler – Little – Ladd came out strong as well. There was no shortage of offense from the Jets, as 23-year old defensemen Paul Postma hit the post, followed by Kane undressing Chris Phillips and hitting yet another post. After Chris Neil’s boarding call of Mark Stuart, Dustin Byfuglien scored on the PP (from Andrew Ladd and Tobias Enstrom).
Paul Postma’s offensive game
Postma registered 3 shots, and hit the post early on in the 1st period. He made many great pinches and created chances, including a great attack and pass to Scheifele, who was in front of the net. Postma has some work to do in his own end (as I will address later), but if Postma continues to play as he did in the offensive end, he will be able to supply the Jets with ample amount of the offense, taking some pressure off of the pairing of Enstrom – Byfuglien.
Byfuglien led the Jets with 6 shots, 1 goal, and was second to Tobias Enstrom in TOI with 24:44 minutes. Byfuglien jumped up in the play and created chances all night long for the Jets, and hustled at the other end of the ice, including a backcheck that nullified Ottawa’s 3 on 1 in the 1st period. Byfuglien is notorious for his mental lapses at the defensive end, and well known for the impact he can make on offense, but he did a great job at both ends of the ice, and was definitely the Jet’s best player against the Sens.
The 2nd and 3rd periods
Though the Jets came out strong in the first period, from the last half of the 2nd period onward, they slowly got worse and worse, while the Sens got better and better. After the first PP, the Jets’ powerplay slowed down significantly, to the point where they spent consecutive power plays trying to get into the offensive zone. The defence didn’t help out goalie Ondrej Pavelec much, as Mark Stuart failed to tie up Chris Neil on the 2nd goal, and Grant Clitsome screened his own goalie on Erik Karlsson’s goal.
Paul Postma’s defensive game
Though he was great on the offensive side of the puck, Paul Postma was less than stellar in the defensive zone, particularly on Ottawa’s first goal, where he turned it over to Milan Michalek who rifled it past Pavelec. His turnovers in his own zone created several chances for the Sens, and everything he does for the offense is pointless if he helps the other team put the puck in his net.
- Evander Kane was quiet after the 1st period, though his line of Wellwood – Jokinen – Kane showed promise
- Mark Scheifele got many chances (which he needs to finish), but he was very weak with the puck along the boards
- Alexei Ponikarovsky was very quiet
- 4th line had good forechecks, but was stuck in own end several times