Another day, another third period collapse for the Winnipeg Jets.
Granted, the Jets were playing the defending champion Boston Bruins, who are among the elite teams in the NHL and clearly showed it in Tuesday’s 5-3 triumph at TD Garden.
It should be noted that this was the first time this season the Jets failed to hold on to a lead in regulation time after two periods (now 16-1-1), but it was the third time in eight games the team faded in the third — the others were against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 23 and the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 4.
This game turned drastically on the opening shift of the third period, which featured a series of glaring blunders that led to Nathan Horton scoring eight seconds in and evening the score.
Bryan Little lost the draw to David Krejci, Toby Enstrom was caught on a bad pinch, Johnny Oduya was a bit nonchalant while checking Krejci and the backcheck simply wasn’t there as Horton tapped the puck in.
After working so hard to build the lead, the Jets were obviously demoralized by the early goal against and before they could recover, the Bruins scored two more goals and you could turn out the lights because the party was over.
The only thing that was really surprising about the game is that the Bruins were unable to get a sixth goal past Ondrej Pavelec, who made 37 saves, including 19 in the third period.
Of all the impressive stats the Bruins have put together this season — leading the league in goals and goals against — it’s amazing that they’ve already put up six goals 11 different times already.
After going 1-3 on this trip to see their road record to 6-11-4, the Jets are back in action Thursday at MTS Centre against the San Jose Sharks — one of the high-flying teams in the Western Conference.
INJURIES MORE TROUBLING
Perhaps more troubling than dropping the game for the Jets was losing defenceman Zach Bogosian to a lower-body injury and winger Tanner Glass to an eye injury.
The severity of either injury isn’t clear at this point. Bogosian suffered an undisclosed ailment in the second period and finding a way to play his heavy minutes was a challenge for the Jets, especially with Dustin Byfuglien already out with a knee issue.
It’s hard to believe the referees missed the Joe Corvo high stick that caught Glass above the right eye behind the net late in the first period.
Glass did a great job getting in on the forecheck and Corvo clipped him carelessly after turning over the puck.
Jim Slater got a good scoring chance on the play, rattling his shot off the post, but the Jets surely should have been going to the power play, probably for four minutes.
FEHR SCORES FIRST GOAL
Although it came in a losing cause, Winkler product Eric Fehr is likely feeling a few pounds lighter around the shoulder area after finding a way to score his first goal of the season.
It took a lot longer than he had hoped and it probably wasn’t the way he drew it up, but Fehr beat Tuuka Rask at 11:11 of the second period to give the Jets a 3-2 lead.
Fehr was skating down the left wing and took a quick shot that caromed off the stick and skate of Corvo before slipping through the five-hole of Rask.
Fehr deserves credit for elevating his game after Noel said he would get more ice time when he starts playing better.
Throughout the road trip, Fehr found a way to raise his effectiveness and now he’s snapped out of his funk.
THORBURN STILL WAITING
Speaking of chasing first goals, the wait continues for Chris Thorburn, who has now gone 42 games this season without scoring a goal.
It’s been said numerous times that the gritty right-winger is handling the lengthy drought better than most people would, but he had a glorious opportunity to snap the goose-egg on Tuesday night.
After he was hooked by Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg on a breakaway, Thorburn was awarded a penalty shot at 5:57 of the first period.
Thorburn came cruising in, made a strong move to the backhand and lifted his shot under the arm of Rask — but it never got past the goal-line.
Some would have preferred to see Thorburn shoot instead of deke, but I thought it was a pretty confident move for a guy still looking for his first goal of the season.
Thorburn is a guy who answers the bell and plays physical, but you have to think he’s going to get that first goal before long. After all, he did manage a career-high nine goals last season.
GOOD MOVE BY THORNTON
Just past the five-minute mark of the second period, Shawn Thornton showed great hustle coming out of the penalty box to earn a penalty shot of his own early in the second period (with the Bruins shorthanded, no less).
Thornton actually made a nifty backhand deke to beat Pavelec and tie the score 2-2.
Lost in the shuffle was that Tim Stapleton showed great hustle to catch Thornton and lifted his stick to prevent his shot.
Looked like a nice defensive play to me, but the Seidenberg hook was borderline as well, so it’s little surprise the penalty shot was called.