The Winnipeg Jets are three games into a five-game road trip and times are tough. After a great effort in Chicago last Tuesday, the Jets have played sub-par on the road, and their next stops in St. Paul and Nashville won’t be easy pickins’, either.
Last night, the Jets came up short against a very good Carolina Hurricanes team, who were coming off a three-game winning streak and are likely to extend it to five games in Toronto tomorrow night. Carolina was fast and tough, and although the Jets played much better than the night before in Boston, they just didn’t have enough in the tank to overcome the Hurricanes.
Winnipeg did manage 29 shots on a very calm and collective Cam Ward, this coming after only 12 shots in Boston on Saturday. Carolina peppered 40 shots at Connor Hellebuyck, who had his strongest game in net this year for the Jets.
Mark Stuart was back in the lineup and made his presence known throughout the game. Nikolaj Ehlers worked up and down the ice and even made a few big hits. Mark Scheifele, who has not played well since the Chicago outing, started slow but seemed to get a second wind in the third period and regained his stride.
For the second night in a row, the Jets found themselves in penalty trouble. Against the Hurricanes, the Jets took nine penalties and found themselves shorthanded for 16 minutes of the game. Luckily, their penalty kill was in good form. But it is tough to muster too much offense when shorthanded for a quarter of the game.
As stated, the Jets will have a tough three games coming up, with the Wild on Wednesday night followed by the Predators on Friday in Nashville and then again in Winnipeg on Sunday. Both teams are solid and have four games in hand on the Jets, meaning these games are huge for Winnipeg.
Also interesting to see were all the empty seats at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes are a very exciting team, but this could be the last stand for hockey in Raleigh. Quebec fans continue to salivate in hopes of filling their new 18,259, $370 million (US) arena. Given the financial issues of the Hurricanes, I give it 10-to-1 odds that the Hurricanes become the Nordiques within the next 24 months.
NOTE: Las Vegas unveils their name and logo tomorrow night at 8:30pm EST on the NHL Network.