With their heads barely above the playoff line, the Winnipeg Jets needed a win tonight against the Florida Panthers. Instead, they rewarded the sizeable group of fans that made the trip to Sunrise, FL with a lacklustre effort and a loss.
The Jets, a mere two points up on the Los Angeles Kings and the playoff spot line headed into the game, allowed the Panthers to score first on a lucky push from Derek Mackenzie to close out the first period.
Mark Scheifele tied the game midway through the second frame with a snapshot that handcuffed the Panther's third string netminder Dan Ellis. That effort was for naught, though, when Adam Pardy's clearing attempt caught the inside of the post and put the Panthers up 2-1 to end the second period.
It was Drew Stafford who pulled the Jets even in the third, but with under 4 minutes remaining Florida once again took the lead, this time on an Alexander Barkov snipe that beat Michael Hutchinson high on the glove side. The Panthers would add the empty net goal to seal the deal, and the Winnipeg Jets are now left relying on the out of town scoreboard to keep their rapidly diminishing playoff hopes alive.
1. Burned out Clutch - Michael Hutchinson has been good for the Winnipeg Jets this year, but since the all-star break has posted an .881 sv%. Maybe we could let the rookie take a night off?
2. Tyler Myers left the game with an "upper body injury" and did not return. That's what we like to call "a bad thing".
3. Michael Frolik was the first line center tonight. Was this head coach Paul Maurice "mixing things up" to light a spark, or him looking to keep Jim Slater off the third line?
4. Speaking of the third line - why isn't Eric O'Dell being given an extended look? He can't seriously be worse than Chris Thorburn, can he? O'Dell logged 5:55 tonight.
5. Jaromir Jagr is 43, and notched another 2 assists tonight. He was in his fourth NHL season when Jacob Trouba was born.
6. Would it hurt to start Pavelec against Tampa Bay?
7. No Little. No Buff. No Perreault. They kinda matter to this line up.
8. Michael Frolik has yet to sign a new contract, and with an 8 game point streak going, he is going to be looking to get paid handsomely. Personally, I don't think he'll be in Chevy's price range.