The Winnipeg Jets couldn’t get a win in their three-game home stand this week, but there were positives to take from the past few days. The Jets kept it close against two of the best teams in the Central Division, and their man-advantage was a surprising factor.
The Jets’ 27th-ranked power-play scored four goals in those three games, close to a third of their season’s total of 15. The Jets struggled immensely on the power-play until Tuesday night, when Bryan Little scored the lone Winnipeg goal in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
The Jets followed that up with two power-play goals against the Colorado Avalanche two nights later, and capped it off with one more against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. There is no magic formula for the team’s success on the special-team: they finally played smarter.
Instead of looking to defenseman Dustin Byfuglien as the main threat on the power-play, Winnipeg spread it around, using the forwards more often to create the play. It paid off, as Blake Wheeler scored two of the team’s goals, and Byfuglien was not in on any of them. The Jets’ goal against Dallas was a pure play by the 27-year old winger, as he came out of the penalty box, and fired one from the slot 7 seconds later. Winnipeg has been experimenting on the power-play, using blue-liners such as Jacob Trouba and Grant Clitsome on the point, to increase puck movement and decrease long point shots that are often tipped wide of the goal.
The Jets have allowed 5 short-handed goals against this season, tied for second in the NHL. They will look to keep their good luck rolling as they face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. The Blue Jackets have the NHL’s 19th-ranked penalty-kill, with an 81% kill rate.
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