In what was an ugly finish to a game that was closer than the final score indicates, the Winnipeg Jets continued to display an amazing ineptitude at killing penalties en route to a disappointing 6-3 defeat to the Florida Panthers.
Of course, going into the game it was assumed that the Jets might struggle on the defensive side of the puck. Already without Zach Bogosian, the boys were forced to go without Dustin Byfuglien after he sustained a LBI prior to the game-day skate.
Any NHL team that needs to rely on Ron Hainsey, Mark Stuart and Zach Redmond (in his first ever NHL game, by the way) in their top-4 are likely to struggle. And boy, did they.
Luckily, the Jets were playing the Florida Panthers, who had only scored 5 goals in their last 5 games. That should help, right? Wrong. The Jets made them look like South-East Division Champions again (instead of the 15th-ranked team in the conference going into the night).
A scoreless first period didn't bring much action, and after Brian Campbell and Grant Clitsome exchanged goals in the second it was a 1-1 game after two. And then the floodgates opened.
Olli Jokinen put the Jets in front just 1:23 into the final period after taking a nice feed from Blake Wheeler, but that lead was short-lived as Jet-killer Kris Versteeg replied just 2:11 later with his first of the year. Tobias Enstrom would again put the Jets in front with a rocket short-side on Jose Theodore, and the Jets had the lead with 10 minutes to go. And then it all broke down.
Back-to-back power-play goals from Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev 1:17 apart put the Panthers in front to stay, and rookie Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Kopecky added unassisted markers in the final five minutes to seal the victory.
The Jets allowed 5 goals in the third period, four of them in the final 8:40 (including an empty-netter), and gave up three PP goals on six tries. Those numbers right there will place you squarely in the draft lottery.
The good feelings from last week are now gone, as the Jets are now 3-3-1 on the season, 0-2 on this road trip despite holding leads in the third period of both games, and will try to salvage something from this trip tomorrow night in Tampa Bay.
- Despite coming into the game tied with the third-worst penalty-kill on the season with 68.8%, the Winnipeg Jets somehow managed to drop that rating as they allowed three more PP goals in this disappointing loss. The three goals allowed on the penalty-kill leave the Jets with a mind-boggling PK percentage of 63.6% and is now last in the league. What was Perry Pearn hired for again?
- Ondrej Pavelec, after his very impressive start to the season, has now given up nine goals in his last two starts, and is sporting a rather pedestrian 0.847 save percentage in those games. Yuck. Both of the power-play goals in the third could be put directly on his shoulders, too.
- The blue-line was expected to struggle, and at times it sure did. Despite goals from Grant Clitsome and Tobias Enstrom, the overall impression that I got is that Buff and Bogo had better get back. And soon. Ron Hainsey and Mark Stuart did nothing to impress me at all.
- The Jets gave up the first goal for the 4th straight game. Coach Noel must love that stat.
- Zach Redmond finished the night with the third-highest TOI at 20:56, behind only Tobias Enstrom (25:53) and Ron Hainsey (24:49). That's a cry for help.
- James Wright negated a potential power-play in a tie-game by earning an instigator penalty when he went after Scotty Upshall following a dirty hit on Zach Redmond. I had no problem with that.
- Al Montoya didn't have a bad game tonight. He might have been the only one.
- I have to wonder what Mark Scheifele is thinking. After watching Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher light up the Jets in Montreal the other night, WJC teammate Jonathan Huberdeau added a goal tonight while Scheifele remains planted in the press box. Send him back to Barrie already.
- Gary Bettman was reportedly in the building this evening, and must have LOVED the full building. Despite the announced attendance being 15,731, could there have been any more then 5,000? Yikes.
- Tomorrow night the Jets get to try their hand at another road game on a back-to-back in Tampa Bay. Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and co. might score 10 power-play goals tomorrow. Sigh.