Ryan Kesler and the Duck’s spoiled the party in Winnipeg Monday night.
Kesler scored with just two minutes left to tie the game at four and Rikard Rakell scored in overtime to claim the 5-4 victory for Anaheim.
The result now sees the Ducks lead the Jets 3-0 in the NHL Playoff series. With Winnipeg facing an uphill battle to progress let's take a look at where they impressed, and failed, to date.
Despite the loss, there are several positives the Jets can take away from this game. First, Jet’s fans realize that just having playoff hockey back in Winnipeg after 19 years is a victory in itself.
So even though Monday’s loss was painful, the Jet’s fans have shown they’ll support their team no matter what.
Second, the Jet’s top forwards Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler finally scored goals and used their speed effectively to create chances.
Third, the Jet’s once again were the more physical side, outhitting the Ducks 61-44 throughout the game. Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien took several undisciplined penalties but still made life miserable for many of the Duck’s forwards. Finally, Jet’s goalie Ondrej Pavalec made 26 saves on the night and kept his team in the game.
However, in the end it’s still a loss for the Winnipeg Jets. The Jet’s conceded goals late in every period that allowed the Ducks to shift momentum.
This is something that Jet’s head Coach Paul Maurice needs to address ahead of game four on Wednesday. When it comes to killing off a period, the players just need to pin the puck to the boards or just play dump and chase.
Several times throughout game three, the players tried to keep the play going and ended up turning the puck over and getting scored on. This has to change if the Jet’s hope to get back in the series.
Obviously, Byfuglien needs to smarten up and stop taking undisciplined penalties. Gifting the Duck’s with powerplays will pretty much put the Duck’s on a jet plane to the second round
Finally, the Jet’s fans need to stop heckling their opponents. They jeered Kesler mercilessly, but what ended up happening is, it fueled Kesler and as a result he scored a goal. In my opinion, heckling almost always backfires. Kesler’s tying goal is a perfect example.
Regardless, the Winnipeg Jets face a huge uphill battle now. Gaining some momentum from being at home for game four will be critical.
The players just need to feed off that energy and use their physical play to get under the skin of the opposition.
Guys like Wheeler, Little and Byfuglien need to keep it simple and just pepper Andersen with shots until he cracks.
This series isn’t over and there are likely some injured Ducks in Anaheim’s roster as a result of game three. So the Jets just need to keep believing and take it one game at a time.
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