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Auteur Fil de discussion: puck plays a factor in their defensive improvement  (Lu 432 fois)
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« le: Décembre 07, 2017, 03:26:28 »

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice understands that if a rebuilding is done the proper way, “it will feel 10 times longer than it takes.”

Maurice owns mental scars from the climb the Jets have made to hold the NHL’s second best record at 17 6 4.

You will look back at it and say that was great. That was easy,” Maurice said. “But there are a lot of carcasses on the side of the road, and they usually have whistles around their necks, by the time you get there. We’ve had six good weeks, but we had two years of pretty defined step back.”

Ranked fifth in both goals per game 3.44 and goals against average 2.63 , the Jets are the toast of the NHL, mostly because of the quality drafting done while they ve missed the playoffs five of the six years they have been in Winnipeg.

It’s not a fun experience, but we’ve been fortunate because from the first time the young guys stepped on the ice Kyle Connor Jersey, we knew they were going to get better,” Maurice said.

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The Auston Matthews led Toronto Maple Leafs are rightfully exalted for their rapid rebuild. But the Jets’ rebuild blueprint might be more fascinating because key foundation blocks for this strong effort are their first round draft picks from six consecutive years 2011 16 . This team has been slow cooked, not microwaved.

Center Mark Scheifele 2011, No. 7 , defenseman Jacob Trouba 2012, No. 9 , defenseman Josh Morrissey 2013, No. 13 , winger Nikolaj Ehlers 2014, No. 9 , left wing Kyle Connor 2015, No. 17 and right wing Patrik Laine 2016, No. 2 are all playing key roles.

The Jets, with Kevin Cheveldayoff as general manager, have made their first pick count every year. No mistakes have been made.

In fact, they have made picks from other rounds count as well. Forward Adam Lowry was the No. 67 pick in 2011. No. 1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck was picked 130th in 2012. Forward Andrew Copp went 104th in 2013.

Winnipeg fans have watched these Jets grow into an exceptional team. The offense came first, and this season they have figured out how to keep the puck out of their net.

The Jets’ ability to own the puck plays a factor in their defensive improvement, as does improved goaltending.

I think it’s a little bit of everything,” Scheifele told USA TODAY Sports. “I think it’s also our maturity coming out, guys learning and wanting to play better.

Last season, the Jets ranked 27th with a goals against average of 3.11.

Our focus has been on trying to eliminate some of the glaring 2 on 1 breakaways,” Jets leading scorer Blake Wheeler said. “Goalies are no different than other players. If they are taking too many 2 on 1s and backdoor tap ins, they are human and their confidence will be a struggle. We are trying to eliminate that stuff and help our goalies be confident.”

Hellebuyck’s save percentage has risen from .908 to .925 and his goals against average has dropped from 2.89 to 2.31. His backup Steve Mason also has some quality moments.

They have been outstanding this year,” Wheeler said. “To me, that’s the biggest reason for the turnaround.”

It has helped that younger defensemen Trouba and Morrissey have tightened up their defensive play.

We know our forwards are going to score goals so we can play safer and smarter, knowing you don’t have to push to create offense,” Trouba said. “They are going to create offense, and we know our power play is going to score a couple of goals when we need them.”

Everyone is doing their job now to give the Jets the best record in the Western Conference. But their winning formula starts on draft days. In the salary cap era, your scouts have to be among your star performers now more than ever. That s what the Jets success is showing.
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