WINNIPEG - If the Jets miss the playoff by a point or two, it will be games like this people remember most.
Playing the team with the second worst record in the league, the Jets had another third period collapse and lost 5-3 to the Edmonton Oilers.
It wasn’t the first time the Jets had a stinker against one of the league’s poorer cousins. They lost three games this season to the third worst team in the league, the Montreal Canadiens.
And they even managed to find a way to lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the runaway favourites to win the draft lottery and nail down Nail Yakupov.
The Jets are so close to being a playoff team, but it’s hard to believe they’ll be there if they can’t even win the games they are supposed to win.
This loss was costly.
The Jets have now been outscored 71-43 in the third period this season. It’s an atrocious stat that has gotten worse in recent games against Philly, Tampa and Edmonton. Monday’s four-goal third for the Oilers was the worst one yet ... Ondrej Pavelec has been the Jets best player in 75% of the games he’s played this season. That was not the case Monday night, especially on at least two goals by the Oilers ... There was no Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey or Anderson this time, but the result sure looked awfully similar to the ones the Jets used to achieve when playing the arch-rival Oilers back in the ’80s ... Give the Oilers some credit, they are talented and fast, but the Jets didn’t make them work for their goals so it’s a disappointing result ... Randy Jones couldn’t control a puck at the Oilers’ blue-line and then fell down, allowing Lennart Petrell to break in and score. It’s tough to swallow when the Jets just traded away a solid puck-moving defenceman in Johnny Oduya ... Former Jets goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin sure sounded like he wanted to play Monday night but couldn’t get medical clearance. Khabby said some great things about the city before the game and clearly has fond memories of his short time here and it’s too bad he didn’t get a chance to be the third of the three old-time Jets still in the NHL to play at MTS Centre.
MAKES SAVE WITH CHIN
Tough start for Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk. First his mask got knocked off and into the net by Evander Kane’s high stick and no penalty was called and a few minutes later he basically had to make a save with his chin on Andrew Ladd’s high slapper ... It was a great atmosphere once again at MTS Centre, reminiscent of the great, albeit one-side, rivalry of the ’80s. Back then no team got Jets fans more fired up than the Oilers and those old feelings die hard ... The Oilers controlled the neutral zone well and didn’t let speedy Jets wingers Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane get any rushes going, which made a big difference ... The Jets on the other hand, were not checking nearly as well as they have in recent games and that played right into the hands of the offensively minded Oilers ... At least six times the Jets had chances to shoot, but opted for passes that didn’t get through, prompting fans to start chanting “Shoot the puck.” Jets fans clamouring for the players to shoot is nothing new, but this time they had a pretty good point ... The Jets simply were not keeping it simple, getting pucks on net and getting bodies in front, a method that has been working for them so well lately.
GETS JETS ON BOARD
Dubnyk made an exceptional save when it was still scoreless off Kane, who was set up perfectly by the slick playmaker Wheeler ... Kyle Wellwood got the Jets on the board, converting a nice goal-mouth pass from Nik Antropov. Eventually all those little passes down low had to pay off ... Alex Burmistrov had an impressive second period, showing some great determination while penalty killing, earning the second assist on Wellwood’s goal and scoring the go-ahead goal after taking a beautiful feed from Dustin Byfuglien ... Byfuglien is the best forechecking defenceman in the NHL (is that a good thing?) and it paid off on this occasion when he outmuscled Oilers rearguard Jeff Petry along the boards near the blue-line, moved in on net and made a sweet feed to Burmistrov. Byfuglien has been an offensive force in recent weeks ... Oilers defenceman Cam Barker, who hails from ’Peg City purchased a whopping 60 tickets for Monday’s game ... Good to see Kane playing with some fire, but his second period penalty for boarding on Cory Potter was excessive and costly as Ryan Whitney scored on the power play to tie things up at 1-1 ... The Jets got a bad break early in the third when Wheeler and Ladd had a two-on-one broken up by Corey Potter and Wheeler accidently clipped the Oilers defenceman with a high stick. The Oilers scored the tying goal on the ensuing power play and took the lead for good 35 seconds later. Huge turning point.
GOOD MOVES BY CHEVY
It’s hard not to like Kevin Cheveldayoff’s moves on trade deadline day. It’s too bad he had to trade away Oduya without getting an asset that can help right now in return, but at least Chevy picked up two draft picks (second and third rounders in 2013). Oduya’s absence should easily be offset by the arrival of defenceman Grant Clitsome, whom Cheveldayoff claimed on waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday. Now before you go shouting about the perils of picking up a castoff from the worst team in the league, consider these facts. Clitsome is four years younger than Oduya, is cheaper, has another year on his contract, has a better plus-minus rating and has more goals and points this season. Seems like a stroke of brilliance by the Jets GM.