The fourth and final game of the the second longest road trip of the season for the Jets did not go as swimmingly as their wins against the Floridian teams.
This was not the fast start Jets fans have gotten used to in recent games, as instead of scoring first, the Jets struggled to get anything going offensively, hanging Ondrej Pavelec out to dry and he eventually gave in, as New Jersey quickly put two passed the Jets netminder. First it was Ryan Carter 8:47 into the game solving Pavelec with his third, and then a minute twenty five later it was Stephen Gionta getting his third to quickly make it 2-0. The Jets would get one back before the period was out as they learned that if you throw the puck to the net good things can happen, as my boy Mark Stuart netted his second on an ugly goal that cut the lead to one after 1, in an awful period by Winnipeg that they were lucky to escape with only a one goal deficit.
The second period went much better for Winnipeg. They had a couple of 2 on 1 chances, and after a misplay on the first, Evander Kane made no mistake on the second opportunity and wired one over the glove of Johan Hedberg to tie things up with 2:41 to go in the period, and the teams went into the third period all knotted up.
Despite numerous chances, and numerous non-calls that went for both teams, a very exciting third period failed to see a winner, so both teams picked up a point and headed to OT.
The extra frame solved nothing, so it was off to shoot out, a strength for Hedberg and a weakness for Pavelec.
Kovalchuk was stopped by a pad save, which was matched by a sprawling Hedberg on Blake Wheeler's attempt. David Clarkson was denied by a nice kick save, and Evander Kane shot straight into the glove of Moose Hedberg. Patrik Elias sneaked one through the five hole of Pavelec, and Andrew Ladd was unable to replicate that as the five hole slammed shut and Hedberg and the Devils hung on for the 3-2 win.
Slow start: The Devils grabbed an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal before the Jets got rolling, and had a 2-0 lead at that point too. Normally not a problem for the Jets, one might ponder that this was a result of road fatigue.
Plus .500 on the road trip: The Jets finished with a 2-1-1 record on this road trip, as their road record improves to 8-5-2. If they can replicate the home success of last year, the Jets should easily find a playoff spot. However, let downs like the game on Tuesday in Florida and the first period of this game cannot be repeated if that is to happen.
Burmistrov: Yet again, Alexander Burmistrov was locked up, with the key thrown away by Coach Claude Noel. No other Jet receives this level of punishment for their mistakes, and it is unsettling that a young player like Burmi would get such little breathing room.
Hainsey: I cannot defend this guy The NHL credited him to two giveaways tonight, but the numbers are really much greater. How he can stink up the joint and stay on the ice, while Burmi is banished to the dressing room is mighty confusing.
Shootout: The Jets are now 0-2 this season in shootout, as Ondrej Pavelec has a poor (10-25?) record in the event. I can't agree with the choice of shooters, as Blake Wheeler has not warranted a shot in the first 3 when you have guys with great hands like Kyle Wellwood, Olli Jokinene and Nik Antropov in the lineup.
Speical teams: Once again, the Jets PK did the job as they killed off the 22nd opportunity in a row, while the slide on the PP continues.
Stuuuuuuuuuu: The important stats reflected nicely on Mark Stuart tonight, with a goal and an assist tripling his point count from this season. A decent bounce back after an atrocious Fenwick game on Friday. Stu also put up a case for no touch icing when he slammed headlong into the end boards after getting tanlged up with Stephen Gionta. It was an ugly incident that left both players shaken up.
Pavelec: This was one of the few times in which the Jets did not win when Pavs posted a save percentage better than 90, although that percentage was below 90 if you include the shootout. Food for thought.
2: The number of wins for New Jersey since Martin Brodeur went down. They still remain in playoff position, but just barely. Luckily for them all 7 teams outside of the Eastern Conference playoff positions lost their last game.
Kane is able...for now: Evander Kane is a great player when he's on. But the streaks of ineffectiveness are a little concerning. I would rather see Kane put up a point every night, instead of the multi-point games he puts up after long streaks like the 5 game pointless streak he just got over.