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Winnipeg Jets winning with the Back-Up Plan
Jeff Stevenson
OurHometown.ca

Winnipeg Jets winning with the Back-Up Plan
I believe the Winnipeg Jets have a good young team with a bright future ahead of them, but I’m afraid that their current success has been inflated thanks to their opponents taking them lightly and of course feeding off the excitement at the MTS Centre.
PHOTO CREDIT - WinnipegJets.com

Winnipeg - January 23, 2012 - Not only are the Winnipeg Jets seemingly dependent on winning games at home, there is one other trend that seems to be popping up that may be of some concern. Out of the Jets 19 wins this year, only eight of them have come when the opposing team starts their number one goalie.

Only two of the five Jets road wins have come against the teams starting goaltender and that was Cam Ward of Carolina (last place in Eastern Conference 33 pts) and a shoot out win over Jose Theodore and the Florida Panthers (first in Southeast Division with 48 pts). The Jets have to date been a Jekyll and Hyde team looking great at the comfy confines of the Hangar, while looking dreadful when asked to board a plane. Getting rid of the first month the Jets have gone 12-4-1 at home and only 3-6-3 on the road. For the season they are 14-6-1 and 5-10-4 respectively. Only the Carolina Hurricanes (15th East), Anaheim Ducks (14th West) and Columbus Blue Jackets (15th West) have less road wins than the Jets.

That’s the bottom three teams in the league! At home, only the Detroit Red Wins (3rd West) and St.Louis Blues (5th West) have more home wins while Boston (2nd East), Washington (8th East) and Chicago (2nd West) also have 14 wins at home. No team in NHL history has missed the playoffs with more than 27 wins. Currently the Jets are on pace for exactly 27 wins at home, while missing the playoffs because of their abysmal road record.

Going back to the back up situation, of the 19 games the Jets have played on the road they have faced their opponents back up seven times. Of the 21 games played at the MTS Centre they have faced the back up 11 times, which means the Jets have gone up against their opponents number one goalie only 55% of the time. They win 28.5% against number one goalies and 61.2% against the back ups. This of course is factoring in only wins (Starter for opponents determined by which goalie leads their teams in games started), the Jets have managed five overtime losses that I have just counted as losses to keep this simple.

To date there has been 592 games played in the NHL and out of those games the back up has started 30.1% (and this number is inflated due to injuries to starting goaltenders) where as the Jets have gone up against the back up 45.0% of the time.) In comparision Chris Mason has started only seven games or 17.5% of the Jets games). Teams are clearly marking down dates with the Jets as an opportunity to rest their starter and I would hate to see where the Jets record would be had they not been able to take advantage of it. While the Jets are a different team at home than on the road, the same could be said about which goalie they are facing too.

I believe the Jets have a good young team with a bright future ahead of them, but I’m afraid that their current success has been inflated thanks to their opponents taking them lightly and of course feeding off the excitement at the MTS Centre. I hope this is all just a coincidence and that I’m wrong and the team will turn it around on the road and win some games – but numbers never lie.


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