Jets come up short against Senators
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|Jets forward Evander Kane takes a shot on Senators goaltender Craig Anderson at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Man., Nov. 29, 2011. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters)
WINNIPEG - Claude Noel had a bad feeling going in and an even worse feeling as he left the MTS Centre on Tuesday night.
The head coach of the Winnipeg Jets wasn’t in a real forgiving mood when asked where things went wrong for his team after suffering a 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators before a dejected crowd of 15,004.
“To tell you I’m disappointed would be putting it mildly,” was how Noel began his post-game press conference. “I didn’t think we played very intelligently, we certainly didn’t play with our minds. We had some energy but I thought it was a poor game in a lot of ways.
“We found every way to lose it and some things were exposed. We weren’t thinking very good, very clearly. All of those things were the reflection of the same thing for me. It was our lack of, our lack of, intelligence.”
After playing better of late, Noel was hoping to build on a stretch that saw them go 4-1-1 in their past six.
Instead, some old habits reared their ugly head.
“We had been playing fairly good, fairly consistent as a group but you can’t play this way,” said Noel. “This is how you lose games. You can’t close out games, bad penalties, where do you want to go? It’s the same stuff. I sensed this was going to be a very difficult game to win after the first period. As I watched it, I had no comfort, no matter what. There was no period of time I was comfortable. As it played out, I thought ‘I’d been in this show before.’”
What troubled Noel the most?
He didn’t exactly say.
But you got the message the laundry list of issues was long.
Right at the top of the list would be an inability to hold the lead.
After giving up the first goal to Milan Michalek late in the first, the Jets battled back with goals from Blake Wheeler and Alex Burmistrov to take a 2-1 lead.
That should have solved the slow start, right?
Not so fast, the lead lasted all of 35 seconds as Zack Smith jammed home a puck that Ondrej Pavelec thought he had covered at the side of the net.
But the referee failed to blow the whistle and Erik Condra fished it in front to Smith.
“It seems like every time we score a goal, we kind of sit back a little bit,” said Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian. “We have to get that killer instinct and move forward.”
It didn’t end there.
After Michalek gave the Senators another lead late in the second period, the Jets came out flying in the third and got a pair of goals from Evander Kane 77 seconds apart to take the lead at 4-3.
Surely, this team would find a way to buckle down against an Eastern Conference team that was a mere two points ahead of them in the standings when the day began.
“There’s not too many positives,” said Kane, who leads the Jets with 12 goals. “We played well at times in the game and we didn’t play a full 60 minutes and that’s why we were on the losing end.”
Jason Spezza tied it at 9:35, converting a slick pass from Erik Karlsson and then a marginal tripping call on Johnny Oduya opened the door and the Senators kicked it down when Smith scored his second of the contest at 13:45.
Game, set and match
Another turning point in the game saw the Jets fail to deliver during a two-man advantage that lasted 41 seconds near the midway point of the second period.
“Our special teams kind of let us down a little bit,” said Jets centre Bryan Little. “We couldn’t take advantage of our 5-on-3 and after you get a chance like that, they’re going to be looking to call something. We had our chances and they had theirs and they took advantage of it.”