Senators drop Jets

- March 17th, 2013

KANATA, Ont. — The Winnipeg Jets ran into an equally hungry team and suffered their first outright loss in seven games (5-1-1).

A sloppy start led to an early goal from Guillaume Latendresse after Daniel Alfredsson beat Dustin Byfuglien along the boards and took the puck to the net just 3:44 into the contest.

Then with Chris Thorburn serving a slashing minor late in the first period, the Jets gave up their first power play goal in 30 opportunities when Sergei Gonchar found Jakob Silfverberg on the backdoor with just 1:21 left in the opening 20 minutes.

It was another late goal allowed by the Jets, but they actually started to find their legs a bit during the second period and finally broke the goose-egg at 3:26 of the third when Zach Bogosian wired a one-timer from the point past Robin Lehner.

“It kind of got us back in the game a little bit,” said Bogosian.

Suddenly, the Jets were in a position to mount a comeback. Could they turn nothing into something?

It was a question worth asking, especially after Sens centre Kyle Turris took a hooking penalty, putting the Jets on the power play.

The power play was unable to convert and soon after, the Jets found themselves shorthanded after Byfuglien went to the box for goalie interference after driving the net and crashing into Lehner without making an effort to get out of the way.

Early in the penalty kill, Evander Kane broke in all alone but shot the puck over the net. Later in the same penalty, Kane and Blake Wheeler broke in on a 2-on-1 and Wheeler laid a saucer pass over the Sens’ defenceman and Kane got good wood on the shot but Lehner stopped it with his left pad, preserving the lead.

Had Kane been able to convert either one of the quality chances, the Jets may have been in business.

Instead, Turris added the Sens’ second power play marker of the game at 11:30 of the third on a similar play to the one that saw Silfverberg score his first of two.

Silfverberg rounded out the scoring at 12:45, taking advantage of a pick by linemate Mika Zibanejad that prompted Bogosian to express his disappointment.

“I wasn’t really happy when I got interfered with there. That was something that was right in front of the ref,” said Bogosian. “If that doesn’t go in, it was still a (close) game.”

During his post-game address, Jets head coach Claude Noel took ownership of the fact that not finding a way to have his fourth line more involved in the games throughout the course of the week finally seemed to catch up with his team.

Against the Senators, Patrice Cormier (3:32) and Chris Thorburn (3:38) each took five shifts, while Eric Tangradi (4:57) had eight — which in this case was probably not enough.

Noel liked the way his team battled back after falling behind after a sluggish start.

“After the first period, we worked to try to do the right things, with the amount of energy we had,” said Noel. “It was a tough loss.”

It’s not like the Jets laid an egg against a lousy team here. Nor were they going to go the rest of the season without suffering a setback.

The Senators have been battling hard, despite a laundry list of prominent injuries to several star players (you may have heard of G Craig Anderson, D and reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and forwards Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek.

Sens head coach Paul MacLean is doing an outstanding job with this group and will garner plenty of attention as Coach of the year.

Silfverberg showed off a good shot, scoring a pair to give him six on the year and Gonchar was at his crafty best, picking up a pair of assists.

For the Jets, Mark Stuart had a steady game, finishing with a game-high seven hits and one blocked shot while C Nik Antropov was in a feisty mood, picking up six hits and four shots on goal.

As for the standings watch, the Jets (who have 19 games left on the docket) will wake up on Monday holding a one point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes (who hold two games in hand).

The Jets are currently 15-12-2 and will open up a four-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins in what will be another challenge against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

There’s not much time to breathe this week as the Jets face the Washington Capitals on Thursday and Friday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday to close out the seven-day stretch.

Depending on how the week goes for the Jets, things could be very interesting going into the final 15 games of the campaign.

Categories: Hockey

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