Winnipeg started strong but faded down the stretch, ultimately bowing out to the Ottawa Senators in front of a packed crowd at the MTS Centre.
Despite a solid start to the game, including a Dustin Byfuglien powerplay goal midway through the first period, the Winnipeg Jets were unable to secure their first home win of the season, succumbing to the Ottawa Senators by a final score of 4-1.
Backed by solid goaltending from Craig Anderson and goals from Milan Michalek, Chris Neil, Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris, the Senators were able to rally back from their early deficit and contain the Jets offense for most of the game.
- Man, does it ever feel good to have NHL hockey back. However, despite the whimsy surrounding the games return, patrons of the MTS Centre were treated to an exhibition level game at priced at full face value. The ice looked terrible as pucks bounced everywhere and players on both sides fatigued as the game wore on. Before we get too worked up, keep in mind this is only one of 48 games on the schedule. It's obvious that it will take a few games before we can truly assess what we have with the 2013 Jets' roster.
- Furthering the sloppy motif, the Jets' spent most of the day handling the puck like a grenade. The final tally, 19 turnovers. Ottawa only had 8. Not to mention, two of those turnovers directly resulted in goals against.
- What started as a bang ended in a whimper. The Jets' powerplay didn't take long to kick into high gear as Dustin Byfuglien unloaded a cannon that beat Craig Anderson cleanly. Unfortunately, that would be all the special teams unit would contribute on the day as the man-advantaged sputtered, managing only 5 shots in 6 powerplay opportunities.
- The Senators, to their credit, were able to take away Winnipeg's zone entries for most of the night. Very infrequently were the Jets able to set up their offense and their efforts in cycling, though valiant, rarely ended with success.
- The trio of Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alexander Burmistrov were Winnipeg's most effective unit this afternoon as their tireless efforts went a long way in controlling the play while on the ice. It feels pretty good to have a legitimate third line in place.
- Mark Scheifele did a good job holding his own, finishing the game with 11:49 TOI and 2 shots on goal. While I wouldn't say it was a performance that exactly cleared a spot for him on the roster, he was good enough for me to believe he could make this a tough decision for Jets' management.
- Grant Clitsome + Paul Postma = a terrible pairing. Again, it's only one game, but the defensive pairing was rather putrid tonight as they struggled making breakout passes and in their defensive zone coverage.
- Ondrej Pavelec didn't have to be outstanding tonight, which I guess was a good thing. It's hard to necessarily blame him for any of the goals he allowed as the ice produced some bounces that fell in the Senators favour -- particularly on each of the first two goals.
- Milan Michalek continues to burn the Jets. In the past five games he's played against Winnipeg , Michalek has six goals and one assist.
- Finally, the same point can be made of Craig Anderson who is now 9-2-0 against the Thrashers/Jets franchise all time.