For some, moving on is harder than for others.
Asked Wednesday how long it’ll take him to get over it, Jets leading point producer Blake Wheeler wasn’t sure.
“It was a really tough one,” Wheeler said after the Jets held a light practice at a rink in nearby Arlington, Va. “It’s going to sting today, too, and tomorrow it’ll be a little bit farther away. But we have to get over it before we play Washington. So, by tomorrow? Maybe right now for some guys. For me, maybe tomorrow.”
The problem for Wheeler is partly personal.
He didn’t particularly like his own game, Tuesday: pointless, for the second straight time, with just one shot on goal.
His cohorts on the Jets top line, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little, were better, the former setting up the latter for a pair of goals, a decent rebound from a forgettable outing against Carolina, Sunday.
But the cold, hard truth is they were on the ice for Pittsburgh’s last two goals, and have been on the business end of the plus-minus in back-to-back games.
“We created a lot of scoring chances,” Wheeler said. “The two goals were great. I don’t remember playing in the D-zone very often. The two times it was in our D-zone it went in the net.”
Like I said, selective memories.
Of course, there’s always the dreaded videotape to revisit.
Noel, clearly the sucker for punishment, planned to delve into that, Wednesday, if for no other reason than to double-check how many Penguins were on the ice at times.
“I mean, you watch them move the puck around on the power play, it was a little bit frightening,” Noel said. “They looked like they had eight guys out there, not five. We looked like we had two.”
By the time he opens the gate for practice, Thursday, Noel wants to leave Pittsburgh in his rear view, though.
“We have to move past that,” the coach said. “We can’t get into an emotional roller-coaster, with winning and losing, and celebrating because we beat Washington, 3-2 (last Friday). We’ve got to keep ourselves at an even keel. We can’t drag these games through.”
Interesting that Noel referenced last Friday’s emotional win over the Caps, again. It’s apparent he feels his team gorged itself on those spoils, leading to Sunday’s fat-cat effort against Carolina.
So what kind of emotional response will the Pittsburgh pasting produce?
The last time it happened — an 8-5 loss in the same city — the Jets didn’t exactly rebound, dropping a 3-1 decision, at home, to the Islanders.
The time before that, a 5-1 loss in New Jersey, they came home to beat Buffalo. But a 7-3 January embarrassment in Montreal led to an equally disgusting 4-0 shutout in Toronto.
So who knows where this team’s mental state is at.
“We’ve been in this position ... and we’ve come back strong, won a couple of games and put ourselves right back in the picture,” Wheeler said. “If we do that again, we’re right back in it.
“We’re down, but we’re not out.”
But out isn’t far down the road, either.