WINNIPEG, CANADA - FEBRUARY 27: Jordan Eberle #14 of the Edmonton Oilers looks back after scoring against Ondrej Pavelec #31 of the Winnipeg Jets in NHL action at the MTS Centre on February 27, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
The Winnipeg Jets were dealt a serious blow to their playoff aspirations tonight, as they dropped a critical home game to the visting Edmonton Oilers 5-3 in front of 15,004 disappointed fans at the MTS Centre. Despite holding a 2-1 lead through two periods on the strength of goals from Kyle Wellwood and Alexander Burmistrov, the Jets decided to play firewagon hockey against the talented Oilers team and ended up getting burned for four unanswered goals in the third. Nik Antropov managed to pot a meaningless power-play goal in garbage time to make the score look a little better, but lets face it. The Jets played a stinker tonight, full of defensive gaffes and way-too-fancy passes that never worked. Without the recently shipped-out Johnny Oduya and the injured Zach Bogosian, the team just played a terrible game in its own end. Welcome to town, Mr. Grant Clitsome. I hope you can play some defense...
The loss keeps the Jets in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with a 68 points (30-27-8), but it also gives all of the teams around them in the race for the playoffs another game-in-hand to add to the pile they already had. They remain two points behind the Florida Panthers (who now have four games in hand), one point ahead of the 9th-place Washington Capitals and three points up on 10th-place Toronto Maple Leafs (who each now have three games in hand). Needless to say, collecting zero points tonight is a very frustrating result.
Zach Bogosian did take the pre-game warm-up before being listed as a scratch, and Grant Clitsome is expected to arrive in town tomorrow and is eligible to play on Thursday. Hopefully some reinforcements on the blue-line can help.
Recap and game thoughts after the jump.
1st Period: No Scoring
3rd Period: 1:54 EDM Ryan Jones 14 PP (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ales Hemsky) 2:29 EDM Lennart Petrell 4 (Unassisted) 9:24 EDM Taylor Hall 23 (Lennart Petrell, Eric Belanger) 17:34 EDM Jordan Eberle 28 (Ryan Smyth, Ladislav Smid) 18:50 WPG Nik Antropov 9 PP (Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien)
Shots: WPG 32 EDM 25
3 Stars: 1) Taylor Hall 2) Devan Dubnyk 3) Alexander Burmistrov
Thoughts from the Tarmac:
- "SHOOT THE PUCK! SHOOT THE PUCK!" When the home crowd is chanting that during play, I think the team may be trying too many cute passes. Numerous chances were spoiled thanks to the extra pass tonight, and in the end those opportunities may have cost us.
- Well, the over-passing and the crappy defense cost us. Randy Jones looked awful on the Petrell goal, and Buff looked out of gas on the Eberle breakaway. We need Bogosian and Clitsome in the lineup, and soon.
- We all know that Buff can't handle playing 28 minutes a game, yet coach Noel had him out there for a game-high 28:16. Combine that with the 11:25 that Mark Flood saw and the 12:03 that Randy Jones saw, it's no wonder that Buff was out of gas. I'll say it again. We need Bogosian and Clitsome in the lineup, and soon.
- I have to give Buff some credit for his offense tonight though. That pass he made to Burmi was sick, and he added another helper in garbage time. Another two assists for the big man. If only he could play less defense. Or more at forward. He sure looked good on that 2-on-1...
- Burmi looked great tonight, and I thought that Wellwood did too. I'm glad that Welly wasn't moved, and I hope we can re-sign him to a sub-$2m per season deal. He's looked real good with Burmi and Kane.
- Ladd's Little Wheeler just didn't have it tonight. Bryan Little struggled I thought, but Blake Wheeler looked strong again. Just no finish.
- The power-play kept up it's crazy pace, scoring twice on three opportunities. The only problem is that the Oilers did the same thing. Special teams galore.
- No Eric Fehr again. Sigh. I wonder what we can do with him...
- Did I say that we need Zach Bogosian back? And that I hope Grant Clitsome can play some solid defense? If I didn't, well I'm going to now. We need Bogosian and Clitsome in the lineup, and soon.
- Interesting that after all of the flak that I've given Johnny Oduya of late, it's the day that he leaves that the Jets play one of their worst defensive games of the year. My bad Johnny, maybe you weren't the entire problem.
- I still have faith in this team, but tonight shows that we still have a ton of work to do. Big game up against the Panthers on Thursday. At least we have a day to practice some defensive coverage or something.