WINNIPEG - The Jets are not a very good team when it comes to overtime.
They are now 0-3 in OT — 1-4 in games that end tied after regulation — after dropping a 4-3 decision to the Washington Capitals Wednesday night and this team would be a lot closer to playoff position if they had picked up extra points in any of those losses.
Still, it was an exceptional, fast-paced, physical hockey game that took just 2 1/2 hours to play — overtime included — and featured end-to-end action from start to finish.
The Jets came back three times from a goal down to force overtime and deserve credit for that.
Bryan Little finished off a great play started by Blake Wheeler to tie it at 3-3 with 7:24 left in the third as the Jets earned a road point in a tough building against one of the top teams in the league.
The Jets played a good hockey game and it was an encouraging result, coming off a three-game winning streak, but in the end it was still a loss and you get the impression people around this team are becoming less and less satisfied with those kinds of results.
That’s a good sign.
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Good to see Ron Hainsey back in the lineup for the Jets. The veteran defenceman is good at both ends of the ice and should help, not that there has been anything particularly wrong with the play of NHL callups like Mark Flood, Artus Kulda and Brett Festerling. Hainsey had 23:34 of ice time, second most among the Jets ... The bad side of Dustin Byfuglien reared its ugly head in the first period when he made a pointless pinch and allowed Alexander Ovechkin, of all people, to get a two-on-one break. Byfuglien essentially waved at a belt-high pass and then had to watch as Ovechkin made a sweet feed to Alexander Semin for the goal to make it 1-0 Caps ... Wheeler had a glorious opportunity to tie the game after a nice play by Little, but he let it roll off his stick. Wheeler has a goal now, but he still doesn’t look completely comfortable when the puck comes his way near the goalmouth ... Fantastic play by Jets scoring leader Kyle Wellwood to draw two Capitals to one side then slip a pass to Nik Antropov for a two-on-one with Andrew Ladd. Antropov made a slick pass and Ladd buried it. Just how they draw it up in practice ... The Jets gave up a goal just 12 seconds later as Little lost his man and Jason Chimera redirected a pass from the corner past Ondrej Pavelec ... Ladd has been sick with the flu the last few days but he sure didn’t look out of sorts Wednesday night. He picked up an assist on the Jets second goal as Wellwood took advantage of a fortunate bounce after a shot by Zach Bogosian to make it 2-2. It was an easy goal for Wellwood and those are the kinds of bounces you get when things are going this well.
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Pavelec is a good goalie but not always great. His rebound control was suspect on the Capitals’ third goal, by Nicklas Backstrom. It didn’t help that Backstrom had all kinds of time and no Jets’ defenceman punished him for being so close to the goal mouth ... It was Backstrom’s 24th birthday Wednesday. Seemed like he would be older than that. Belated birthday wishes to Jets play-by-play man Dennis Beyak as well ... Wheeler took a bad penalty for taking out Caps’ goalie Tomas Vokoun behind the net, but it looked like he just lost an edge and did it by accident. Still, penalties behind the opposing team’s net are the ones that frustrate Jets’ coach Claude Noel the most ... Eric Fehr said he was having a hard time getting into the flow of the game after playing less than six minutes Saturday against Philadelphia. He should be more into now after taking a couple of big hits in the second period from Troy Brouwer of the Caps ... Ovechkin was fast and physical and was creating scoring chances. In other words, it was the Ovie of old ... The Jets moved the puck around well on a two-man advantage but were done in by a broken stick of all things. Wellwood couldn’t get Brooks Laich’s broken stick out of the way and ended up getting checked by it while trying to set up a play. The Jets wound up with three shots on the 5-on-3 but no great scoring chances.
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Little showed great hustle to get to a puck to negate a potential odd-man rush by the Capitals but his clearing attempt up the middle was ill-advised and it led to Jason Chimera’s tap-in overtime marker. Little likely wishes now he had just put the puck in the corner ... The Jets caught a break in the third period when an apparent goal by Mike Knuble was waved off as the ref called goaltender interference on Matt Hendricks. Little’s tying goal came 43 seconds later ... Evander Kane clanged a backhand of the crossbar late in regulation. The Jets were that close to winning this one ... Wheeler led a two-on-one with Kane in overtime but his crossing pass was deftly broken up by the Capitals Jeff Schultz ... The passing display by the line of Antropov, Wellwood and Ladd was impressive. Their skill level didn’t look out of place going up against the talent-rich Capitals ... It’s going to be fun to watch these teams play four more times this season. The skating, the hitting and the animosity make for solid entertainment.