Well then. That was certainly heart-breaking.
Despite being up 3-2 heading into the third period against a Hurricanes team that was playing the second half of a back-to-back, the Winnipeg Jets were unable to hold on to their lead and by failing to do so may have just cost themselves a playoff spot. Goals by Eric Staal and Chad Larose in the third, the latter coming with 1:22 left in regulation, Carolina Hurricanes handed the Jets the dreaded 4-3 regulation defeat. It was sickening to watch.
It didn't help that the Jets played the third period with 11 forwards and 5 defenders, as Nik Antropov exited the game with an LBI in the second, and Zach Bogosian was given a 5-and-a-game for his Niklas Kronwall impression on Andreas Nodl. Being short two bodies obviously had something to do with it, as the Canes outshot Winnipeg 19-14 in the final period in a game where they should have been the tired team.
So what does this mean? The Jets fail to gain ground on the Washington Capitals, who after losing 5-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks could have been caught for the 8th-spot in the East. Instead, the Jets remain two points back of the Caps, and tied with the Buffalo Sabres who were likely squealing with glee all night as they watched both of these games finish up.
Being twenty minutes away from earning two points, and being less then two minutes away from earning at least one, makes this regulation loss even harder to take. And it doesn't get any easier, as the Jets head into Pittsburgh on Tuesday. A road game against the best team in the league? Oi vey.
Recap and game thoughts after the jump.
1st Period: 7:41 CAR Jussi Jokinen 11 SH (Unassisted) 11:41 WPG Nik Antropov 13 (Tim Stapleton, Mark Stuart)
2nd Period: 5:46 CAR Eric Staal 20 PP (Tim Brent, Jiri Tlusty) 10:29 WPG Antti Miettinen 1 (Evander Kane, Tobias Enstrom) 18:54 WPG Antti Miettinen 2 (Spencer Machacek)
3rd Period: 10:24 CAR Eric Staal 21 (Jussi Jokinen) 18:38 CAR Chad Larose 17 (Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen)
Shots: CAR 35 WPG 33
3 Stars: 1) Antti Miettinen 2) Eric Staal 3) Cam Ward
Thoughts from the Tarmac:
- What a crushing defeat. Absolutely crushing. A must win game after the knowing that the Caps lost already? I feel sick to my stomach.
- Nik Antropov scored for the third straight game, and then leaves with an LBI. Not exactly what we need right now, as we are already without Chris Thorburn and Eric Fehr up front.
- Having said that, Spencer Machacek comes up from St. John's and plays a fantastic game. His first NHL point, a fight where he feeds Pat Dwyer his lunch, and an overall display of talent makes me think that he's a keeper. But why did he only played 5:33 with a depleted bench? Come on Claude, you need to manage your bench better.
- Antti Miettien scored not once, but twice! After going 35 games without one for the Jets, Mittens fires home two in the losing effort. You cannot fault the bottom six tonight.
- You can, however, fault the top six. On Andrew Ladd Bobble-head Night, the captain finished with a crowd-pleasing -3 on his round. Unfortunately, this isn't The Masters. Oh, and his two awful passes led to both the Jokinen shorty and the Staal breakaway goal. You truly were the bobble-head tonight Mr. Ladd.
- His line-mate Bryan Little as well as Dustin Byfuglien also finished with -3 scores, while Blake Wheeler was -2. I realize that they've been the driving forces behind our recent success, but our best players tanked tonight when we needed them the most.
- Zach Bogosian looked really good in his first game back in a while, but then he gets tossed for leaving his feet on a hit where he leveled Andreas Nodl. I honestly think that Nodl gets hurt if Bogo keeps his feet on the ice regardless, and I've seen Niklas Kronwall make worse hits that went unpenalized, but I have a terrible feeling that Bogo could potentially be Shana-banned.
- I'm not going to blame Byfuglien completely on that game-winner against, but that soft flip he made to the blue-line had me seeing red. A strong play on that puck and Larose is never in that position to win the game. Ondrej Pavelec didn't look great on it either, but regardless it was a bad play all the way around.
- "Jordan's Better"? Not tonight, Jets' fans. Eric Staal showed just how bad that chant was tonight, potting two goals and assisting on the winner while finishing +2 and seeing 26:40 worth of ice-time. He is the best Staal for sure.
- Kirk Muller has these Hurricanes playing a nice brand of hockey. What they may lack for talent, they certainly make up for with hard work. I think this was one coaching change that has worked wonderfully.
- Well, our power-play was ranked #1 at home, but it was awful again tonight. Another 5-on-3 chance was wasted, and in general not much was created other then the Mittens tip-in goal just as a PP expired.
- I still feel sick to my stomach. I'm going to bed.