WINNIPEG: This was a turn of the tables that the Winnipeg Jets would rather avoid.
There have been many nights in recent seasons in which the Jets have relied heavily on goalkeeper Connor Hellebuyck, who stole a game.
But as the curtain rose on the Jets 2021-22 season, it was John Gibson who was the showstopper for the Anaheim Ducks.
Gibson won the head-to-head showdown between the two men battling for the U.S. team’s initial job in the upcoming Olympics, finishing with 33 stops, as the Jets left a 4-1 decision on Wednesday in the night at the Honda Center.
“He made some good stops, for sure. But we have some good shooters on our team, “Jets winger Kyle Connor told reporters in California after the game.” We just didn’t get the right look. He made big savings on the first power play, but this it’s not our mindset: “Oh, this guy is tonight.” We’re still putting on records [on the net] in the same way. We will not change our game because of the goalkeeper “.
The Jets continue this three-game trip for Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks.
It’s important to remember that this is just one of 82 games, but it’s fair to say that the Jets have something to do, especially when it comes to managing records and special equipment.
While winning the first four power plays of the game, the Jets were able to generate many quality goal opportunities and gain a significant lead on goal shots (15-6).
But Gibson kept the Jets from growing an early momentum and kept his team in the game until they were able to find their skating legs, making several acrobatic stops.
This inability to comply with the game of force proved costly and it was only a matter of time before the calls began to equalize and the Jets ’penalty shootout was launched.
“There were a lot of good things in this game for us. Lots to take advantage of and that’s what it’s all about at this time of year, ”said Jets defender Josh Morrissey, who generated several Grade A scoring opportunities in the contest.“ It’s the first game and you don’t do the “Playoffs and you don’t get anything. You really want to win, but there were a lot of good things for us and some things we can clean up and do a little better.”
Throughout the training camp, the Jets talked about how defense corps improvements could lead to spending less time in Zone D and finally helping to make life a little easier in Hellebuyck by limiting volume and shot quality.
This first test was somewhat successful on this front, as the Jets only allowed 22 shots on goal and limited the number of goal opportunities in jeopardy.
Does this mean that it can take a while to get used to Hellebuyck, who often thrives on being busy?
“I do not think so. If so, it’s a good volume adjustment and just body wear, “said Jets coach Paul Maurice.” It’s a game. We’ll delve into back-to-back nights and trips that will have a lot of action and a lot of “We gave up 12 equal shots and didn’t try hard. He’ll get used to it.”
Special teams played a major role in the result, as the Jets ’power play ended the night zero by five with the man’s lead, while the Ducks scored twice on five occasions.
“You don’t want it to become static, where you don’t have opportunities,” Morrissey said. “One of the good things to start with is the shots and we had a lot of shots, especially in those first plays of power. We looked good. They just didn’t come in for us. “
With Mark Scheifele sitting the fourth and final game of his suspension for his success at Montreal Canadiens striker Jake Evans, another issue was predominant.
As was the case in the 2020 qualifying round series and four games in the hands of those Canadians, the Jets had trouble scoring without Scheifele in training, and Connor scored Winnipeg’s lone goal Wednesday night. .
With seven of eight games out of the gate against Pacific Division opponents (none against the Vegas Golden Knights or the Edmonton Oilers), it was believed the Jets could take advantage of a smooth schedule.
But, as Maurice warned earlier this week, there are no vacancies on the bingo card, especially in the early stages of the season after not seeing many opponents for an extended period of time.
Long before the record was dropped in Southern California, veteran striker Paul Stastny had a clear understanding of what his team was trying to do to begin laying the groundwork for this all-important base.
“You’re building something,” Stastny told Anaheim reporters after the morning skate. “But every year you realize that what you did the year before or what you did in the past really doesn’t matter. Everyone has expectations to make the playoffs, everyone has hopes and aspirations to win the Cup.
“There are 20 teams that probably have a legitimate opportunity, not a legitimate opportunity, but they could win, with the goalkeeper, with the superstar’s players. The way the game is now is so spread out. So t “You realize that all this hype and all that you could have read during the summer doesn’t matter. Everyone is on the same boat right now and the work begins and the excitement begins.”
And now that the first game appears in the books, the Jets will focus their attention on tuning.