Squandered opportunity for Jets

Jets captain (left) Andrew Ladd and forward Nik Antropov (right) battle for the puck with Senators...

Jets captain (left) Andrew Ladd and forward Nik Antropov (right) battle for the puck with Senators forward Kaspars Daugavins (middle left) and defenceman Jared Cowen at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Man., Nov. 29, 2011. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:45 AM ET

WINNIPEG - That was a terrible way for the Winnipeg Jets to start what might be their most important stretch of the season.

The Jets played a wild, undisciplined game and got shaky goaltending while losing a key Eastern Conference matchup 6-4 to the Ottawa Senators.

Winnipeg blew two leads and blew two points on home ice against a team it is chasing in the standings.

Captain Andrew Ladd was a brutal minus-4 on the night, Ondrej Pavelec didn’t come up with the big saves and the Jets wasted another strong offensive performance from Evander Kane.

The Jets entered the game with dreams of putting together a winning streak while playing 13 of their next 15 games on home ice, but proved it doesn’t matter which building you are in or how many fans are cheering you on if you don’t do the little things right.

It was an entertaining hockey game, granted, but unless the Jets can find a way to play better with the lead and stop taking untimely penalties (how many times have we heard that before), they’re a long way from being a contender to make the playoffs.

When you have the other team on the ropes in your own building, you have to finish them off.

It was a squandered opportunity for the Jets

• • •

The Jets were thinking big heading into this stretch of home games that got off to a sour start Tuesday. “If we can win nine or 10 of those games, we’re going to be in a playoff spot,” forward Kyle Wellwood said. “We want to make sure that this is the time we move ourselves into a playoff spot before the New Year.” Not a good start, Kyle ... A big momentum shift came in this game 35 seconds after Alex Burmistrov scored to give the Jets a 2-1 lead in the second period. Pavelec, with help from defenceman Mark Flood, looked to have covered a puck at the side of the net, but the Sens dug it loose and Zach Smith put it home to tie the game. Former NHL GM Doug MacLean, who is an analyst on Sportsnet said: “If I’m a Winnipeg Jets fan, I’m really ticked off. Sens fans should be thrilled. I think it should have been blown down.” That being said, the same thing happened to Carey Price and the Habs against Pittsburgh last week. They learned the same lesson as the Jets: You have to play to the whistle, period.

• • •

It’s amazing what constitutes hooking these days. Johnny Oduya barely touched Erik Karlsson and got sent off, which allowed the Sens to score the winning goal on the power play. The refs call sticks to the hands all the time, but apparently the Jets still haven’t received the memo ... True story: With 8:43 left in the third period I asked a colleague “What are the odds the Jets can go 8:43 without taking a penalty? We both said zero, simultaneously. The Jets are nothing, if not predictable ... The Jets found a way to lose despite scoring four goals in their own building and firing 43 shots at a goalie who has been one of the worst in the NHL ... “I didn’t think we played very intelligently. This is how you lose games,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. That about sums it up ... The Senators lost Filip Kuba and Nikita Filatov to injuries early in the game but still came back to win on the road. Gutsy effort by a team that looks better than the Jets on the whole this season ... So is Paulina Gretzky trying to be the next Kim Kardashian?

• • •

Great forechecking by Tanner Glass led to a goal by Burmistrov, who fired one past Craig Anderson from near the goal line. Ottawa’s goaltender made 39 saves, but some of the ones he let in were suspect ... Dustin Byfuglien had a ridiculous 12 shots on goal, but I don’t remember a single one of them being on a good scoring chance ... That’s the third time this year the Jets have been engaged in a reckless shootout, but the first on home ice. That kind of stuff is too hard on the fans’ hearts.

• • •

Senators star Daniel Alfredsson says former Jets forward Paul MacLean has done a great job in his first season as Ottawa’s head coach.

“He’s made everybody feel they have an important role on the team,” Alfredsson said. “Everybody feels their play that night can make a difference and we have everybody playing hard every night, which is a good thing.”

• • •

Prior to the game Jets C Jim Slater said he’s noticed a difference in the culture around this team, compared with the one that was in Atlanta last year.

Slater said just performing decently wasn’t enough for the Jets when they went 1-1-1 on their last road trip.

“We wanted more and everyone in here thinks we could have gotten more out of that road trip. We’re still happy with three points, obviously, but we know we left some points out there that we could have had.

“Every time we go into a game, we expect to win. That might not have been the case in the past but Coach Noel has done a good job of getting that mindset in this room and we feel like we can compete with anybody.”

Didn’t look like there was much of a winning mindset Tuesday night.

Even in a big game, where they could have moved to within a point of second place in their division with a win, this team lacked killer instinct.


Videos

Photos