ANALYSIS: Jets too good for repeat of last season’s second-half slide

From Winkler to Thompson, Brandon to Kenora, and everywhere in between, you can hear the refrain: “here we go again.”

Thoughts of the second half of last season are starting to be part of many conversations. The Jets have now lost five consecutive games,  and scored just four times in those five.

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This span of games is completely out of character for a club that was the talk of the whole NHL for three months. This was the best team in the NHL, five-on-five, for most of the season before the all-star break.

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So what’s changed? Why now? When will this funk end? All fair questions — and all with absolutely no reasonable answers, other than to say that the consistency the Jets had for 44 games has evaporated in the last five.

In many ways, the ups and downs of the NHL season make this game so compelling, so frustrating — and so addicting. The explanations of a five-game losing streak can’t be detailed by analytics or numbers or watching a video tablet. It is the human aspect of the game.

The momentum that exists in an eight-game winning streak is amplified in any losing streak. The confidence erodes, as the doubts creep in.

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To paraphrase the incomparable Yogi Berra: “Baseball is 90 per cent mental … the other half is physical.” Hockey is no different.

No greater example occurred than about six minutes into the third Thursday night in Philadelphia, when Kyle Connor was on a partial breakaway. He elected to try a spinorama pass to Nik Ehlers, rather than just shooting. It failed. When Connor was on a roll — when the Jets were on a roll — that would a been a shot. A quality shot. That’s what happens when you overthink, when doubt creeps in.

Hockey is a game of instinct. Not a game of thinking. If you take time to think you should do something with the puck, it’s too late.

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Right now, the Jets are thinking … no, they’re overthinking. This team is too good, too deep, to let it happen too much longer.

Click to play video: 'John Shannon on the Jets: February 8'
John Shannon on the Jets: February 8

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