The Winnipeg Jets still struggle to find any consistency to their game as they put forth another lackadaisical effort tonight at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
It took only 0:53 seconds for the Blue Jackets to take the lead as a Ryan Johansen slap shot from the half wall eluded Ondrej Pavelec for his fourth goal of the year.
Columbus would nurse their lead through the first and second periods before Johansen would mark his second of the night early in the third, giving Columbus a comfortable two goal cushion.
Winnipeg would spend the next ten minutes slowly taking control of the game when Mark Stuart was able to squeeze shorthanded a shot under the glove of Steve Mason, giving the Jets new life.
But on this night the Jets effort would be too little, too late as the elusive game tying goal would dangle just out of their reach.
Winnipeg could not put together enough sustained pressure to find a way to solve Steve Mason for a second time as the Blue Jackets goaltender made 35 saves to register just his third win of the year.
For the Jets, it seems to be the same old song and dance as they are either scoring or being scored on in the first five minutes of action. In games such as tonights, it seems as though they deflate emotionally and let their opposition dictate the pace of the game once they have succumbed the lead.
If not for a nearly flawless game from Pavelec, Winnipeg would have been looking at the same fate they suffered Thursday night to the Panthers, trailing by much more than one goal going into the third period.
The Jets will now travel back to Winnipeg where the will look to break their current five game losing streak against the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night.
1st Period: 00:53 Columbus ES Goal, Ryan Johansen (4) (James Wisniewski, Marc Methot)
2nd Period: No Scoring
3rd Period: 04:06 Columbus ES Goal, Ryan Johansen (5) (Vinny Prospal, Nikita Nikitin); 16:15 Winnipeg SH Goal, Mark Stuart (2) (Dustin Byfuglien)
Shots: Winnipeg 36, Columbus 27
3 Stars: 1. Ryan Johansen 2. Steve Mason 3. Vinny Prospal
- If you are interested in the state of Columbus' front office go read The Cannon's article on Scott Howson's Q & A period with Blue Jacket season ticket holders today. I remain confident that he is the right guy to turn the ship around in Columbus and needs to be afforded the time to get his team on the same page.
- Howson's new acquisitions of Mark Letestu and Nikita Nikitin both had solid performances for the Blue Jackets tonight. Letestu played on a line with Ryan Johansen which was buzzing all night and finished with a +/- rating of +2. Nikitin churned out over 24 minutes of TOI and had an assist. Ed. Note: As of this writing, Kris Russell has scored his first goal as a member of the St. Louis Blues.
- Winnipeg had five powerplay opportunities tonight. They only managed one (1!) shot on goal. One (1!) shot on a goaltender who leads the league in goals against. Horrendous. Abysmal. Inexcusable.
- As noted by CBC's Greg Millen, the schedule makers aren't doing Winnipeg any favors. After finishing their seven game road trip the Jets were able to come home for two nights before flying off to Columbus. All the travel seems to have taken it's toll as the Jets had absolutely no legs tonight.
- Best Winnipeg Jet: Ondrej Pavelec. Second Best: Kyle Wellwood. The acquisition of Wellwood looks like a shrewd gem pulled of by Cheveldayoff & Co. as he has been way better than advertised this season. With the return of Eric Fehr around the corner, Winnipeg will have two players who can be interchanged throughout the line-up and can simplify their games to fill in where needed.
Rick Nash has a sweet Movember stache going on.
- Jeff Carter was showing no ill effects of a foot injury which has kept him off the ice for the past few weeks. He was all over the ice and had three quality scoring chances for Columbus.
- Mark Flood continues to quietly impress me. Another spotless night and a great diving play to break up a Rick Nash breakaway in the first period.
- Winnipeg was destroyed in the face-off circle tonight, losing 61% of their draws. Their worst offender was Jim Slater who went 3-12 (25%) on the night and only 3-10 (30%) in his defensive zone.
- How cool is it that Columbus fires a cannon when they score!? Makes me wish that I followed more Blue Jackets games. Between the Columbus Cannon and Tampa Bay's lightning coils, who do you got?