December 20, 2011
Jets sniped in shootout loss
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Evander Kane’s bold move to the net late in the second period was significant for a couple of reasons.
First if all, it showed how tough it is to determine what a penalty is in today’s NHL.
Secondly, it made one wonder why it took the Jets 38 minutes to make the first aggressive move of their game against the New York Islanders.
Kane drove hard to the net with the puck and looked like he was going to cut in front. Arriving at the same time was Islanders defenceman Milan Jurcina, who drove Kane right into New York netminder Al Montoya, who had to leave the game in favour of Evgeni Nabokov. For some reason, though, Kane was the one headed to the penalty box after picking up a goaltender interference penalty.
Maybe the Jets just knew it was going to be that kind of night with the officials, because they weren’t exactly excited about making too many power moves against one of the league’s worst teams.
The Jets were out of sorts for much of Tuesday’s clash, standing still for plenty of it and turning the puck over quite frequently. The result was a fitting 3-2 shootout loss. P.A. Parenteau and Frans Nielsen scored in the shootout for the Isles, while Nabokov shut the door on Blake Wheeler and Kyle Wellwood. Ondrej Pavelec made 31 stops for the Jets and was the only reason the home side picked up a point.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who scored one of Winnipeg’s two goals, admitted there wasn’t enough jump in the Jets game.
“That was a big part of our start,” Ladd said. “We weren’t skating. We’d get the puck in the neutral zone, and we’d be standing still instead of moving our feet and getting the puck in and getting on their D and really pressuring.
“It’s a big part of our game, and when we’re at our best everyone’s skating as a group of five.”
For most of the first two periods, it looked like the Jets were focused on what they were going to get their significant others for Christmas instead of beating the Islanders.
New York was the quicker team, getting to pucks well in advance of the Winnipeggers, who appeared to be stuck in first gear. As a result, the Islanders had several glorious scoring opportunities in the opening 15 minutes and took advantage of one of them when P.A. Parenteau took a sweet feed from Matt Moulson and fired a shot into the yawning cage.
It usually isn’t that easy for the opposition to score on the Jets at MTS Centre, but Tuesday was a different kind of night. There was nowhere near the buzz in the arena like there usually is, although comparing the Isles game to the Anaheim Ducks contest on Saturday night is like comparing apples and oranges. Still, it was one of the more quiet games the downtown arena has had this season. On several occasions the crowd had to be prompted to make some noise, and it looked like the players needed the same support to get something going.
“Yeah, but we didn’t create any buzz, either,” head coach Claude Noel said. “It’s not like we were great. We had a couple shifts in the second period where we pushed things pretty well, and we got some momentum going. But we didn’t create a lot.”