Before tonight's game in Winnipeg we sat down with our buddy Trevor from Arctic Ice Hockey to talk a little about what to expect from the Jets. Be sure to check them out for their perspective and coverage leading up to the game.
1- The Jets put a whoopin' on the Penguins three weeks ago, but recently it's seemed like Winnipeg has had a problem scoring goals (just five in last three games). Do you think the recent trades are to address that? How does Winnipeg look to get back on track?
Frankly, I don't see how substituting Alexei Ponikarovsky with Eric Tangradi is an upgrade offensively, but maybe -- hopefully -- it will provide a spark to Winnipeg's anemic offense.
Their recent struggles have been twofold: Firstly, they simply don't register enough shots on the powerplay. In forty-six attempts, they've managed a measly forty-one shots, an average of less than 1 per powerplay. The second problem has been their puck retrieval and zone entries. The dump-and-chase concept has not been executed to Claude Noel's liking and frequently results in a turnover rather than any sustained offensive pressure. To make matters worse, when they aren't dumping the puck it, their forwards are getting stacked up around the blue-line and turning the puck over there.
Hopefully hard work alone is enough to cure their scoring woes but personally, I won't hold my breath.
2- Tobias Enstrom has a team best 11 assists to go along with just 9 shots on goal. Guessing he's really concentrating on in-zone passes so far this season? Safe to say he's been the team's best player so far?
Tobias Enstrom's inflated assist total will continue to rise so long as he's paired with Dustin Byfuglien; Winnipeg's cannon on the point. On the powerplay, Enstrom has the assigned duty of ladling the puck into an area where Big Buff can rip one timers and thus far, it's worked out for him. That said, he's also Winnipeg's best defenseman when it comes to making the first pass, something which has helped his numbers as well.
While Enstrom has been one of Winnipeg's best players, I'd say from a consistency tandpoint, their best has been Alexander Burmistrov. Though the points don't show it, Burmistrov has been all hustle in the Jets' first twelve games.
3- Ondrec Pavelec has poor stat this season, but looked good in the last Pens/Jets game. Has he had a rough year personally or do you feel like a majority of the goals against are team dependent (breakdowns, poor coverage, lots of power play chances against, etc)?
Ondrej Pavelec is the kind of goalie who will play a great two and a half period and then allow three goals in the span of four minutes. Brian Engblom has eluded to the fact that he's a mentally fragile netminder, usually bemoaning something when he makes his way to the bench during breaks. You can see it in his game whether it's his over commitment to an angle or a string of weak goals in succession. He certainly could use a little more confidence in his game and if he's able to find it, he could become the goalie management hoped he was when they dumped 19.5MM at his front door