Jets fall to Flyers in OT

Jets forward Andrew Ladd fights for a loose puck in front of the Flyers net at the MTS Centre in...

Jets forward Andrew Ladd fights for a loose puck in front of the Flyers net at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Man., Feb. 21, 2012. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:45 AM ET

WINNIPEG - These are the type of gut-wrenching losses that leave a mark.

The good news for the Winnipeg Jets is that they’re supposed to hurt and the pain comes from not just being satisfied with staying close.

When you give up the tying goal with 10.8 seconds left in regulation on a missed assignment and then allow another in the final minute of overtime, it’s OK to be angry about it — for a bit.

“That’s obviously a tough one to swallow, a game we should have had,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who had two goals in 64 seconds during the second period. “You’re up with 30 seconds left and you have to find a way to win those.

“It’s obviously a pretty crappy feeling. You’re in control of the game and have a chance to pick two big points up and you only end up with one.

“Disappointment is the word.”

But with 20 games left in the regular season and the Jets within striking distance of a playoff spot, there’s no sense letting that disappointment linger. There’s too much work ahead.

That being said, there was a big lesson to be learned in this 5-4 extra-time defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

“We focused on playing defensively and trying to get the puck out, we weren’t really focused on scoring,” said Jets forward Tim Stapleton, who produced three assists in the game. “That kind of killed us too. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing not to lose and sure enough, they scored a goal late there and then the one in overtime.”

Wayne Simmonds went hard to the net and redirected a crisp pass from James van Riemsdyk in the waning seconds and it was the ageless Jaromir Jagr who delivered the overtime winner in front of the net, burying a feed from Danny Briere.

It certainly wasn’t all bad for the Jets, not by a long shot.

A once-anemic power play that suffered through a 5-for-53 stretch has now scored five times in the past five opportunities — including 3-for-3 on the night.

The once-futile offensive attack produced another four goals, though it looked like Ilya Bryzgalov could have given up close to double digits the way he was fighting the puck.

And it’s not like the Flyers are some cellar-dweller — they’re a team that has been among the Beasts in the Eastern Conference, especially on nights when their goalies mix in a save or two.

Speaking of goalies, probably the most encouraging sign on this evening for the Jets was the brilliant play of Ondrej Pavelec, who finished with 50 saves.

“On the bright side of things, if you can find it, Pavelec was unbelievable,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “Pavelec was by far the best player on the ice. We might not even have got a point if it wasn’t for him. You can win championships with goalies like that.”

By the same token, the Jets can’t afford to waste a performance like that.

“It’s tough, we need every point possible, but we’re going to wake up and be in the same situation we’re in now,” said Stapleton.

By not securing the extra point, the Jets failed to leapfrog the Florida Panthers to take over top spot in the Southeast Division.

Sure, that’s an opportunity lost but holding a one-point advantage over a team with four games in hand is probably a false sense of security anyway.

As it stands, the Jets remain ninth in the Eastern Conference and continue to play the role of the predator, trying to chase down the teams ahead of them.

The Jets have played 62 games and have 65 points, the same number as the Panthers (who’ve played 58 games and the eighth-place Toronto Maple Leafs (who’ve played 61 games).

A playoff spot is still within reach, provided a letdown can be avoided.

Securing five of a possible six points on this eight-game homestand and seven of the past eight overall represents progress.

Finding a way to regroup from another heartbreaking loss is the next challenge.


Videos

Photos