Well, that was disappointing.
The Winnipeg Jets were due for a letdown, and tonight was the night. Despite also playing yesterday, the Ottawa Senators dominated the first two periods and held off a brief third period charge in tonight's 4-1 victory. The loss snapped the team's streak of gaining points at six games, and they are now 5-1-1 in their last seven.
The first period was a disaster, as the hangover associated with last night's big win in Toronto was apparent. The Jets didn't have their legs at all, and were dominated by the Sens in the first 20. It didn't take long for Ottawa to open the scoring, as Daniel Alfredsson waltzed around Dustin Byfuglien doing his 'Bustin' routine and banked one in off of the skate of Guillaume Latendresse at the 3:44. Buff looked awful on the play and Ondrej Pavelec had no chance.
Things didn't get any better as the first progressed, and the Sens added to their lead late in the period. An awful shift by the fourth line, and a bad turnover by bench-warmer Patrice Cormier, caused Chris Thorburn to take a penalty. Jakob Silfverberg made the Jets pay, as he roofed a wrister over Pavelec after taking a great cross-ice feed from Sergei Gonchar. Ottawa ended the period up 2-0 and outshot the visitors 19-6, and if not for some stellar goaltending it could have been way worse.
The second period was slightly better, but it didn't provide any results. Grant Clitsome was stoned by Robin Lehner on a power-play chance, and Nik Antropov also had a good look from in close, but the second ended with the same 2-0 score. The Jets were outshot 12-10 in the frame, and the 31-16 shot total after two reflected what we saw on the ice.
The third period had much more potential, as the Jets actually managed to show some jump and they got on the board at the 3:26 mark when Zach Bogosian blasted home a point shot to trim the lead to one. And Evander Kane had two exceptional chances to tie it up, as he came in on a breakaway but shot a rolling puck over the net, and then was absolutely stoned by Robin Lehner on a short-handed 2-on-1 when the rookie goalie came across with the left pad.
Sadly, that was the game, as Kyle Turris took advantage of a dumb delay of game penalty by Ron Hainsey with another power-play goal at the 11:30 mark, and just 1:15 later Silfverberg added his second of the night to end the scoring.
The shots in the third were 11-10 for the Sens, and after adding them all up it was a given who dominated the game. Ottawa out-shot the Jets 42-26, and were full marks for the win. The Jets now will fly home and try and recoup before a big match-up with the Boston Bruins.
- I get that the idea that the team should go with the lineup that is winning you games, but today it backfired. The team had no legs in a back-to-back situation while two youngsters, Alexander Burmistrov and Paul Postma, sat upstairs with fresh legs so that the 4th-line could sit on the bench. Oy vey.
- Seriously. Patrice Cormier and Chris Thorburn each played five shifts and saw 3:32 and 3:38 of TOI respectively. Eric Tangradi saw 8 shifts for 4:57. And the trio saw a combined 6 (!!) seconds of ice-time in the 3rd. In a game where fatigue was going to be a factor. I just don't know.
- Add in the fact that it was the 4th-line who took the bad penalty in the first that led to the Sens second and eventual game-winning goal? What more can be said?
- Oh wait, there's more. Wasn't Cormier called up to replace Jim Slater? Wasn't he supposed to be here to help win draws? Well, he took zero faceoffs today. Not one.
- Maybe Burmistrov completely disrespected the coach and this is his punishment. Until Noel tells us, it's all speculation. But to keep him in the pressbox and over-play your top players when they're tired while "teaching a lesson" to Burmi doesn't seem productive to me when you're in the business of winning games.
- Moving on... Ondrej Pavelec was excellent in this game despite letting in 4 goals, as he turned aside 38 shots and posted a 0.905 save percentage on the evening. If not for him, the game could have been way uglier than it was.
- Dustin Byfuglien again led the team in ice-time with 24:46, but his play on the opening goal was way too soft for such a big man. Maybe the 30+ minutes last night were a few too many. And his partner-in-crime, Grant Clitsome, was next in TOI with 22:29. That pairing continues to terrify me in their own end.
- Zach Bogosian was third in TOI with 21:47, while the next two were forwards as Evander Kane played 21:04 while Bryan Little saw 20:43. Noticeably absent from this list is Ron Hainsey, who was 8th on the team at 18:28...
- After killing off so many penalties in a row in the past couple weeks (was it 29 straight kills?), the Jets gave up two power-play goals which doomed them in tonight's game. Finishing -2 in the special teams battle is a recipe for disaster for this squad.
- Overall, the end result is a split of the 2-game trek through Ontario, though they did hand out 3 points to the teams in the province to our East. They still remain in the top-spot in the Southeast Division and the 3rd-seed in the conference, so it's not all doom and gloom around here. But tonight's effort was disappointing.