The Winnipeg Jets have won three in a row and the wins they’re getting are dominating performances. You don’t need stats to see how well the Jets are playing and who would want to look at stats anyway, stats are for losers. When you have the puck most of the time and you’re in the other teams end most of the game, you don’t need to look at stats.
For those of you who love stats, how’s this for a stat? Ondrej Pavelec has started the last 3 games all wins. The team has allowed between 19 and 22 shots in each of those three games and Pavelec has allowed only 5 goals. That’s a 1.66 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Before those three games Pavelec was getting 35 to 40 shots per game and was being left out to dry most nights.
The reason I don’t like stats is even though Pavelec was getting an extra 15 shots per game the quality of those shots were extremely high. A team coming into your end zone and only being able to get a shot off from the boards is a low risk shot, not many go in from there and if they do it’s the goalies’ fault for not making the save. A team coming into your end zone and allowed to make 2 or three cross ice passes making your goaltender move side to side, if the third pass is allowed to happen, that player now has an empty net to shoot at, like the goal from the Columbus Blue Jackets game by Cam Atkinson. That was a high quality chance. When you see shots on goal in a game, they don’t tell you the whole story and it’s for that reason most stats are flawed.
The last 3 games, none of the teams were allowed to walk into the Jets end and make 3 quick crisp passes back and forth and that’s been the big difference since the coaching change. The Jets are getting out of their own zone easier. They are intercepting passes, taking the body and most of all; they have the puck the majority of the time in the other team’s end.
Why is that happening? They Jets have found some confidence. Confidence is huge when it comes to sports. Confidence is knowing you’re a good player. Confidence is making plays without thinking, you just do it because you have the confidence to make those plays and you aren’t worried about making mistakes. Confidence can snow ball on a team and take you on a winning streak that can get you into the playoffs. Confidence is about being on an even keel, not too high, not too low, you just ride it out and sometimes confidence can get you wins when you play poorly. They Jets have confidence right now.
Evander Kane is going to be back soon, they have a couple of big tests against the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, you win those games and teams are going to start paying attention. Paul Maurice has given this team confidence, if you can carry that confidence for long stretches, who knows what can happen. This is a young, big and fast skilled group of players starting to show what they can do. If this team plays like they have been, Jeff O’Neill is right, no one will want to come to Winnipeg.