ANALYSIS: Jets need to reduce shots against in quest to be better defensively

Paul Edmonds <em class=

There’s an old saying in hockey that a good shot should never be heard — the point being that the sound of the puck hitting the glass or the boards resulted in a missed target.

In the case of the Winnipeg Jets this season, there have been plenty of shots against, and for the most part, the silence is deafening.

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Over their first nine games, the Jets do indeed post a winning record and undoubtedly have played inspired hockey. Yet what’s concerning for a team looking to defend better and ultimately challenge for a playoff spot is the volume of shots they’re allowing against.

Sure, the retort would be to ask where the shots are coming from — meaning that if most are from the outside of the slot area, then they’re not as dangerous and somehow the peril is diminished.

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Now, that might be true, but a more critical and perhaps accurate way of viewing it is this: if you don’t have possession of the puck in your own zone, then every shot taken by the opposition is a chance for them to score a goal, regardless of its origin.

To date, Winnipeg has allowed an average of 33 shots against, and on three occasions this season, they’ve given up 40 or more, including a season-high 48 on Sunday in an overtime loss to Vegas.

Too often this season already, goaltended Connor Hellebuyck has been asked to perform an act of valour to the point where the flight jacket presentation probably isn’t enough to reward him for his efforts. The medal of honour should accompany it.

A month into the season, the Jets appear to be close to turning a corner when it comes to playing with passion, speed and excitement, but the quest to be better defensively is still very much in high pursuit.

And yes, a good shot should never be heard in hockey. For the Jets, however, a good way to break the silence would be to eliminate a good portion of them from even happening.

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