In a game where Ondrej Pavelec made some exceptional saves to keep the score close, his teammates were unable to give him any goal support.
Pavelec, who made 25 stops in the loss, was arguably the lone bright spot for the Jets in their second shutout loss in four games. Goal scoring, which wasn’t a major issue for the Jets last season, has become a worry early in 2014-15. More specifically, the power play has been cause for concern.
Down a goal early in the second frame, the Jets were gifted back-to-back power plays. After a fruitless first attempt with the extra man midway through the first, the hope for Jets fans would have been to see some sustained pressure and, finally, a breakthrough on the man advantage during either attempt in the second.
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Instead, the Jets didn’t muster a single shot attempt until there was nearly no time left in the first power play. While the second power play at least gave the Jets the chance at some sustained pressure, it turned up nothing on the score sheet. As the power play opportunity ended, the Predators fired right back. Bombarding the Jets goal for over six minutes, Nashville was able to fire seven pucks toward the Winnipeg goal with only one coming back their way.
Thankfully, Pavelec stood tall. Eventually, however, the dam broke and James Neal was able to bury his first as a Predator and put a nail in the Jets coffin.
It wasn’t for lack of trying on the Jets part, as the Jets hung around in the game, finishing with 31 shots on goal. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was simply equal to the task, stopping all 31 pucks, especially those when his team needed it most.
For the Jets, Mark Scheifele and Anthony Peluso stood out for different reasons. Though the season is young, Scheifele is showing signs of becoming an ever-brighter star for Winnipeg. He showed off his deft ability with the puck in the first period, throwing a move on a Predators defender that resulted in a great chance on Rinne.
Scheifele finished the game with four shots on goal, and was a positive possession player at even strength.
Peluso, on the other hand, was more notable for his absence. After leaving the ice with just over four minutes left in the second period, Peluso did not return. There was no word after the game whether or not he was injured, so it seems like, if anything, it may have been Jets head coach Paul Maurice sending him a message about his play.
All told, if things carry on this way, the Jets have to be concerned about their inability to score. If there’s any sign of hope, it lies in the predictive measures of advanced statistics.
PDO, the sum of on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage, for most teams will generally float around 1.000. A team performing well about 1.000, well, you can expect a drop off rather soon. A team performing well under? Just the opposite. The Jets current PDO is .975, good for eighth worst in the league after two weeks of the season.
These things do tend to normalize, so you can expect the Jets, who are shooting 8.7 per cent as a team, to start putting a few more past goaltenders.
On nights like Friday, where Pavelec was a bright spot, that’s going to be their only hope.