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Chabot: Jets need to make neutral-zone adjustments

by Evan Sporer /

For additional insight into the Western Conference First Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets, has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Los Angeles Kings.

For the second straight game, the Winnipeg Jets took a lead into the third period against the Anaheim Ducks. For the second straight game, the Ducks prevailed after a third-period comeback, winning 2-1 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series.

"Anaheim was the better team for most of the game," Chabot said. "They have three lines playing well and their special teams have been very good.

"Without [goaltender Ondrej] Pavelec's performance this would not have been a one goal game."

Through two periods, the Jets led 1-0 and the shots on goal were pretty even (Anaheim held a 22-21 advantage). The Ducks outshot Winnipeg 17-8 in the final 20 minutes. The game, from start to finish, was very much like Game 1.

"It was a great first period again, fast and even more physical than Game 1," Chabot said. "The defensemen for both teams are playing good, great gaps, good hits, and guys like Tyler Myers, Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler are joining and even leading the rush."

Anaheim bookended the game with 17-shot periods, and held a 17-9 advantage after the first period. In the second, the Ducks continued to find space, but the Jets took a 1-0 lead.

"The Ducks are starting to be able to hit guys with stretch passes and cause problems to the Jets neutral zone strategy," Chabot said. "Winnipeg will have to adjust its structure in the neutral zone just a little bit to make sure that doesn't happen.

"Anaheim got into a bit of penalty trouble [in the second period] but their PK has been very good and Andersen has done a great job of controlling rebounds."

Much like Game 1, the Jets almost doubled their lead before Anaheim made its comeback. Winnipeg was unable to sustain time in the offensive zone and, according to Chabot, it is something the Jets will need to work on when the series shifts to Winnipeg.

"I expect the Jets to use the energy of the MTS Centre and be a lot hungrier around Anaheim's net, and do a better job of crashing the net and cycling the puck," said Chabot. "Anaheim needs to keep playing the way they've been playing, but expect to spend more time in their zone.

"The fans in Winnipeg are fantastic. The energy you feel in that rink is great and it's intimidating for some teams. From the get-go you can start feeling it in the warm-up and during the national anthem. It's a great thing to have. They've had a really good following, and the fans are bringing a lot of energy in the rink and I'm sure it's going to be great."

Chabot said he doesn't expect coach Paul Maurice to juggle his lines after Winnipeg scored three goals combined in the two losses.

"Are the Jets running out of fuel?" Chabot said. "Their defensemen and goaltender have been good, but their forwards need to find their game in a hurry. If they want to score, they will have to get their cycle game going, get to Andersen, and make his life miserable.

"They did it as a group down the stretch even when they had suspensions and injuries; everybody got points. For Winnipeg, it's a team thing, it's a group thing, and right now they're not generating as much forecheck zone time as they did in that big stretch to make the playoffs."


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