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Dismal loss to Rangers is a sign of the times for reeling Jets

WINNIPEG — Raise your hand if you know how many games the Winnipeg Jets have won against teams currently above the playoff line since Feb. 17.

The number is downright alarming and it’s one of the many reasons why the team has significantly underperformed this season.

Sample size is always something to consider when it comes to stats, but 30 matches is not something to sneeze at.

While the Jets went 14-13-3, only two of those wins have come against teams that have either clinched their respective Stanley Cup Playoff tickets or are on the verge of doing so.

A 7-4 triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning and a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues represent the only times the Jets have emerged victorious against teams in this category and they have collected a single point before to lose in overtime to Colorado. Avalanche and the Dallas Stars (twice).

It’s true that you can only play against schedule teams, but the Jets have gone 2-10-3 overall against clubs in the playoffs in that span.

So it’s absolutely no surprise that the Jets are close to being officially eliminated.

The last loss was a 3-0 shutout against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

What conclusions can be drawn from this unexpected turn of events?

Well, the Jets can’t expect to top the ranks of others without doing a better job against top teams.

While much talk has focused on disappointing losses to non-playoff teams, the Jets’ overall play against the elite also needs considerable improvement.

What are the steps to take to make this happen?

Improving the team’s structure and commitment to defense remain at the top of the list.

But another area that shouldn’t be such a struggle is with more than occasional attacking misfortunes.

Tuesday marked the 37th time in 77 games the Jets have been held to two goals or less and won just three (3-30-4).

Going up against a hot goaltender can be a common occurrence — and being frustrated with Vezina Trophy favorite and Hart Trophy contender Igor Shesterkin is something many teams have endured this season.

That doesn’t come as a relief to the Jets though, they clearly need to diversify their offensive offense and become a lot less reliant on rush scoring.

There have been plenty of impressive individual performances among the Jets’ forward group this season, but there weren’t enough secondary goals and the body of defense has just 23 goals – Josh Morrissey has scored 12 , a career high.

Dismal loss to Rangers is a sign of the times for reeling Jets

Former Jets forward Andrew Copp had two assists in his opener against former teammates on Tuesday and now has up to five goals and 15 points in 14 games since the move was made.

Eric Comrie made his 13th start – and 16th appearance of the season – and the Jets backup did his part to keep his team competitive.

However, the lack of support meant they suffered what was only their fourth defeat of the season.

As for the two goals Comrie allowed, one was a perfect redirect from Ryan Strome on the power play after Jets defenseman Logan Stanley read too aggressively at the defensive blue line and the other was a visual shot from Adam Fox through traffic. .

“(Shesterkin) is a good goaltender, but (Comrie) played as well if not better than him. (Comrie) played a hell of a game for us,” Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois said. “There are a lot of good goaltenders in this league. We have to find a way to create more offense.

Comrie relished the opportunity to face the NHL’s best goaltender at Madison Square Garden.

“Yeah. I always want that challenge. I think you always want to say you’re better than the guy in front of you and do your best to beat that guy,” said Comrie, who also appreciated the words of encouragement from Dubois. “But (Shesterkin) won the match. I think he finished first. And I know you’re always worried about the competition in front of you, but I don’t worry so much for that.

“I’m just looking to keep building.”

Speaking of goaltenders, Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck missed Tuesday’s game with what interim head coach Dave Lowry described as a non-COVID-related illness, leaving Mikhail Berdin to serve as a backup after being called back urgently.

With Hellebuyck not 100% and having already made 64 starts this season, there is a golden opportunity for Comrie to start back-to-back games for the first time since early November.

Given that the Jets’ faint playoff hopes could be extinguished ahead of Thursday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, there’s also an opportunity on the horizon for some hopefuls to gain valuable experience in the past five. exits.

It means finding a place for defender Dylan Samberg to return to action after missing the last two games like a healthy scratch.

Samberg has shown well in the majority of his 10 games and those extra reps would serve him well on the road to becoming an NHL regular this fall.

Guys like center David Gustafsson and defenseman Ville Heinola could also be called up next week when the Jets return for a four-game homestand to play the string.

Of course, it’s important that the Jets don’t just go with the flow and sleepwalk to the finish line, but providing a carrot to some prospects who are having a good season with the Manitoba Moose is something. which could have long-term benefits.

And with a full audit fast approaching for the Jets, getting a glimpse of the not-so-distant future and allowing a few more players to acclimate to NHL level is something that needs to be a priority.