Jets fall 4-1 to Stars as losing skid reaches three games

- October 12th, 2013

One of the constant refrains from inside the Winnipeg Jets’ dressing room heading into the season was about not losing two games in a row.

It’s a goal all teams have and finding a way to minimize the losing skids is what helps teams qualify for the playoffs, but the Jets’ losing streak reached three on Friday night after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Dallas Stars.

“You can’t give up four goals and expect to win. That falls on all the defencemen,” said Jets rookie D Jacob Trouba, who played more than 22 minutes and finished the contest minus-2. “We didn’t roll over. The third period was our best period… and it was good to do that and good to build on that. You can’t give away two periods and just play one.”

Facing their first game-on-consecutive-days scenario of the campaign, the Jets managed to put 44 shots on goal (a sharp increase from the 15 they had against the Minnesota Wild in a 2-1 loss on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center) but only managed one goal, a third-period power play marker from Blake Wheeler, who jammed home a rebound at 5:35 after Dustin Byfuglien got his big shot from the point through once again.

Toby Enstrom picked up the secondary assist, allowing him to pick up at least a point for a fifth consecutive game while the power play struck for the fifth consecutive game as well.

And after getting dominated in the face-off circle on Thursday, the Jets bounced back and won 62% of the draws, with Bryan Little leading the way at 18-for-24 (75%) after going just 1-for-20 against the Wild one night earlier.

The Jets lost the special teams battle 2-1 though and fell behind 3-0 in the first period in a game where they needed to come out with more fire.

Tyler Seguin was a beast for the Stars in this one, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists for the first four point game of his young career.

Seguin’s skill was on display all night and he nearly potted the hat trick, but his rebound chance on the backhand from a bad angle sailed just wide.

Even still, the game was impressive enough on a line with captain Jamie Benn and Rich Peverley that I dedicated my sidebar to his exploits. And while I did mention the sleeping in incident from December of 2011, it was done in jest and was more a compliment of how much Seguin has matured since his early days with the Bruins.

Seguin is a dynamic player and the Jets will see plenty of him during the coming years in the Central Division.

But back to the Jets, who are now 0-2 against Central Division teams they’re expected to battle with for a playoff spot this season.

Yes, the Jets (2-3) were looking at the positives following the game, trying to build on a strong finish and you can’t blame them for that.

There were certainly some things the Jets would like to carry over into Sunday’s game but the defensive zone coverage needs to improve still and that’s an area that will require further attention.

It’s been a concern for the Jets since the returned to the NHL and requires a commitment from all parties.

I realize the fact the Jets gave up four goals will lead some to point the finger at Ondrej Pavelec, but it wasn’t poor goaltending that cost the Jets in this one.

It’s true that Pavelec needs to prevent the rebound that led to Benn’s goal late in the first period. Not saying things would have turned out differently if the Jets had escaped down 2-0 after 20 minutes, but that goal sucked the air out of the Jets’ collective baloon and their rally really only began after it was 4-0 and falls under the category of too little, too late.

Jets head coach Claude Noel was quick to come to the defence of his netminder during his post-game address and you can’t blame him. Pavelec was the Jets best player in each of the first four games and he didn’t get enough help — especially early — on Friday.
Noel did some line juggling that seemed to spark things a bit but the quest for chemistry among the four lines is ongoing.Jets captain Andrew Ladd looks frustrated right now and he finished with zero shots on goal and got credit for only one hit. Ladd looks like he’s pressing a bit right now to me, but he usually finds his way to work his way out of tough stretches.Evander Kane and Byfuglien each managed seven shots on goal and were quite involved throughout and Wheeler (four shots on goal, three hits, two takeaways) had what was probably his best game of the season so far.Wheeler can often be his harshest critic and I figure the fact he found the back of the net in Game 5 will give him a shot of confidence for sure, though he was quick to point out in an interview that the goal lacked significance given the score at the time. That’s true, but if Wheeler can get on one of his hot streaks, that obviously would bode well for trying to spark an offence that has now been limited to four goals during the past three games after producing 10 in the first two contests.
“When you lose two in a row, and now three, you maybe start to over-think things and try not to make a mistake. We need to attack more and get on their D more,” said Kane. “We’re five games in. It’s still very early. We know what we have in this room. I don’t think we’re panicking. It’s just frustrating. We just need to get on our horse and finish this homestand strong.

“In the third period we were in their zone the entire time. That’s the thing — we can play like that. We just can’t wait until it’s 4-0.”

Byfuglien had a scary moment in the first period, taking a high stick to the face from Winnipegger Ryan Garbutt, though the penalty (a double minor) was assessed to Russian rookie Valeri Nichushkin.

Byfuglien went to the dressing room for repairs but came back and played nearly 25 minutes once again to lead the Jets in ice time.

The Jets are slated to skate on Saturday morning and continue a six-game homestand on Sunday night against the New Jersey Devils in what will be goalie Cory Schneider’s first visit to MTS Centre since playing for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.

Nice touch by Devils head coach Peter DeBoer to give Schneider the nod in the place where he started his professional career.

The Jets are expected to give Al Montoya his first start of the season against the Devils. He said earlier this week that he’d be ready whenever his number was called and this is a good opportunity to get in and see some game action.

It will be interesting to see what Noel does with his line combos/lineup in general.

I’d expect to see Anthony Peluso to draw in but we could have a few more answers in the morning.

Categories: Hockey

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1 comment

  1. vadeux says:

    no, it was not pavi, and no it was not young jacob and the D-men…
    it was the same old lack of team coherency.

    bring in pat quinn as guidance.

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