ST. LOUIS – "You look nervous," they chanted in unison, hoping to ring the rookie goalkeeper.
Winnipeg Jets fans at Bell MTS Place could just as easily have sent him to their own squad on Thursday night instead of Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues. Because the Jets, with a golden opportunity looking them in the face, looked like part of the group that just could not handle success.
It's like a groundhog day around these places, a completely predictable result that has become the business card of these Jets. Now, a season with so many promises is about to end with a thump.
An 11th loss to the NHL season where the Jets had a lead in the third period was by far the most expensive. And it does not have to be that way, not with a 2-0 lead that left Winnipeg just 20 minutes off a 3-2 playoff lead against St. Louis.
The Jets would probably have survived a quick penalty if they had just cleaned the area, only to feel and give the Blues another chance, which Ryan O'Reilly immediately capitalized with just 1:29 into the third period.
The Jets could have done a better job by tying the free man, Brayden Schenn, in the second minute, equalizing the goal with 6:08 to go at the same time.
Defender Jacob Trouba should simply have moved the puck on his side rather than the disconcerting decision to try to freeze it behind his net, which ultimately led the winner to Jaden Schwartz, who was able to park in front of the goal to get a stick on a food of Tyler Bozak with only 15 seconds to play.
Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. The Winnipeg Jets 2018-19 in a nutshell.
For some reason, this group seems to fundamentally change the way they play based entirely on the score and the clock. And this is not a good trait for an ambitious club. Slowly but surely, we succeed. Frantic and erratic puts you early KO.
That brings me to Jets head coach Paul Maurice, who made the disconcerting decision to shorten his bench with a lot of time to go, while the four lines ran smoothly in the increase. were more effective if the Jets had been able to take advantage of other opportunities.
I was certainly not the only one to wonder if it was a sensible strategy.
"You have the third and fourth lines creak and score." Defensively responsible, he responds by cutting his bench halfway, rolling the first and second lines for most of the third, which shows a lack of confidence in the last six. Undeserved positions, fatigue The first two lines give rise to a loss that should not have been, "told me Friday an NHL leader.
He is right too. We put all kinds of pressure on the players to help them make decisions on the ice. The veteran bench leader must also wear some of it. And the number of times the Jets have been unable to lock a game suggests that the same mistakes are made.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, which could be the epitaph of the Jets this season. You may want to turn your eyes away for a moment here as we review all the ways in which they have torn the defeat to the claws of victory.
October 16th At Edmonton Oilers' home, the Jets take a 4-1 lead in a 5-4 overtime loss.
October 27 In Toronto, the Jets scored three goals, including the tying goal with 3:11 to play and the winner at 2:45, while a 2-0 lead became a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs .
November 16 at home against Buffalo, a tenuous 1-0 lead results in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabers.
November 23 in Minnesota, a 2-0 advantage leads to a nasty 4-2 loss to the Wild, including dropping the winner to 2:31.
November 27 At home against Pittsburgh, Winnipeg gave up a pair in the third period to turn a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 loss to the Penguins, including the winner with a 5:12 win.
February 5 at home against San Jose, a 2-1 lead becomes a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks.
February 26 at home against Minnesota, the Wild scores with 1:27 and 1:01 to play to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.
12th of March It was technically not a huge lead, as both teams were tied, but Joe Pavelski scored the winning goal for the Sharks with five seconds remaining to fly at least one point to the Jets.
March 28 At home to the New York Islanders, a 4-2 lead is eliminated by three goals in a row, including the tying goal at 1:46 and the winner at 1:13, in a 5-4 crush.
A flawless stayApril 4th in Denver, a 2-1 lead became a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, which would essentially cost the Jets a try to win the Central Division title.
April 10 at home against St. Louis, hooked to a 1-0 lead in the first game. David Perron is tied with 15:55 to go and Tyler Bozak wins for the Blues with 2:05 to go.
Sheesh. Not a beautiful picture, is not it?
Add them up and the Jets only have 27-7-4 to take a lead in the third period, including 1-2-0 in this playoff series. To put this in perspective, they played 42-1-1 in this situation during the regular season in 217-18.
Even more bizarre, the balance of Jets tied after two periods: 16-2-1, including 1-1 in this playoff series. How to explain that, except that this team is basically its own worst enemy. They seem more comfortable when they play equally than with a lead.
It's almost comical, really. Even captain Blake Wheeler could not help but make a self-deprecating blow against his own team as he talked about trying to bounce back from the last implosion.
"We have done it several times this year, so if we can do something, we can find out," he said.
And that's the thing about these Jets. I am not ready to count them for the moment. Entering St. Louis and winning another win on Saturday night is not an impossible task, especially with regards to the quality of their participation in Games 3 and 4 at Enterprise Center.
Despite the obvious difficulties in finding the easy way out, this team also showed determination when the situation seemed particularly bleak. Their two victories on the road in this series are examples, and now they will need one more.
The key is to get rid of what Mauritius has called Friday's "kick in the niche" and to defend against a team of Blues who, in your opinion, can smell the blood.
And, I guess, do not have a lead before the third period. Because they? Re doing it, we know who will probably look nervous.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to become a professional wrestler. But when this dream collapsed, he put all his energy into becoming a professional writer.
Read the full biography