Jets lose 5-4 to Flames in shootout

- November 19th, 2013

It was an entertaining finish at MTS Centre as the Winnipeg Jets lost a second game in a row, 5-4 in a shootout that lasted eight rounds and featured five goals.

I can honestly say I didn’t see that coming, especially after a scoreless first period.

Eight goals during the final 40 minutes before OT provided plenty of dramatic moments and momentum swings.

The Jets were playing on consecutive nights and for the third time in four days — plus travel from St. Paul, Minn. after facing the Wild Sunday — but fatigue wasn’t a factor for the home team, at least not in the physical sense.

It’s possible some mental fatigue crept in and might have explained a couple of the breakdowns that led to a couple goals against.

Naturally, the goal that was receiving the most attention on social media was Lance Bouma’s shorthanded marker at 11:17 of the third period that gave the Flames a 3-2 advantage.

Bouma had a strong game overall, making his 19 shifts and 9 minutes and 40 seconds count, finishing with two shots on goal (another went off the post) and blocking a shot.

His most important play was bumping into Jets D-man Dustin Byfuglien during a criss-cross play with Matt Stajan in the offensive zone during a Jets power-play late in the third period.

Byfuglien was knocked off-balance and Bouma continued on toward the goal and converted a pass from Stajan for the go-ahead goal at 11:17.

Byfuglien was understandably incensed and pleaded his case with the referee, but to no avail.

On the ensuing shift, Byfuglien tied the game, taking a shot from the left-wing face-off circle and burying his own rebound at 12:10.

But at 16:34 of the third, Jiri Hudler took a slapper that caromed off the skate of Jets C Mark Scheifele and into the net past Jets G Al Montoya, who had fallen to the ice and seemed to have trouble getting up.

With 5.6 seconds left in regulation, Jets C Bryan Little helped his team rally for a fourth time, banging home a rebound after a sharp-angle shot from Evander Kane that Flames G Reto Berra had trouble with, sending the hometown fans into a frenzy.

Andrew Ladd improved to 6-for-7 this season and Blake Wheeler put the Jets up 2-1 in the fourth round, but Lee Stempniak extended the shootout before rookie Sean Monahan finally won it in the eighth round, leaving the Jets to settle for one point and move to 10-10-3 overall.

I thought Jets C Olli Jokinen, who scored his fourth goal of the season and won 72% of his draws while recording six shots on net, captured the mood best in the dressing room afterward and I led with his comments in my game column here:

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2013/11/19/resilient-jets-still-view-shootout-loss-as-point-lost-instead-of-point-gained

The Jets are taking Tuesday off and returning to the ice Wednesday to prepare for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sun columnist Paul Friesen will handle the coverage the next two days.

Finally, before I take the next two days off, here are some quick hits from Monday’s game:

* Byfuglien was a force in this game, playing nearly 28 minutes and that total would have been higher were it not for the six minutes in penalties he took (double minor for roughing at end of the second period and a tripping penalty early in the third). Six shots on goal, a goal and an assist to give him 5 goals and eight points during his past 7 games. I did my sidebar on Byfuglien, who has been available more often this season but declined to speak to reporters in the dressing room, though he did a post-game chat with TSN Jets.

* Kane was excellent, his best game this month, by my estimation anyway. He was much more physical (eight hits) and had 10 shots on goal, one that led to the tying goal. Sure, Kane’s stuck on six goals and has gone eight games without but he has four assists during the stretch and the drought won’t last much longer if he keeps playing the way he did tonight.

* Jokinen’s excellent night in the circle helped the Jets win the battle, 58% to 42% for the Flames. Little was back up to 50% after struggling a bit (37%) vs the Wild.

* Little had a goal (his team-leading 12th) and an assist and was one of four Jets to have a multi-point night: Byfuglien (1G, 1A), Grant Clitsome (2A) and Blake Wheeler (2A) were the others.

* Michael Frolik scored his fifth goal of the season, which leaves him tied for third on the team, a nice total for someone playing on the third line.

* Toby Enstrom led all players with 29 minutes and 21 seconds of ice time — which was 28 seconds more than Byfuglien.

* Jets G Al Montoya made his fifth start and sixth appearance of the season after watching Ondrej Pavelec start the previous five games. Montoya wasn’t busy in the first period, facing five shots, but he had to be sharp as several with point-blank attempts. Montoya gave up four goals on 33 shots, so it wasn’t his best showing of the season but it would be a mistake to hang this one on the goalie. However, Berra was excellent for the Flames, finishing with 43 saves before stopping six of eight during the shootout.

* I thought D Zach Redmond had a strong outing in his second NHL game of the season. He finished with 11 minutes and 55 seconds and barely played in the third (two shifts for 70 seconds total). But during the first two periods, he made some smart decisions with the puck and doesn’t look out of place at all. However, Jets head coach Claude Noel basically made it a three-line game and cut down to four D for most of the third.

* Anthony Peluso drew back into the lineup for Matt Halischuk and just two seconds into his first shift, after Scheifele won a draw in the offensive zone, Peluso was sent to the box for tripping. Peluso was on the ice for the Flames second goal (TJ Brodie) late in the second period and didn’t get another shift in the game. Peluso finished with 12 shifts for 7 minutes and 56 seconds, with one shot on goal and three hits.

* It was a tough game for Scheifele, as he was held to just under 10 minutes of ice time (9 minutes and 58 seconds, with only three shifts in third period) and finished minus-2, with one shot on goal and one hit. He also got an attempt in the shootout but was stopped. He’s now gone 22 games without scoring, though he did win four of five draws (80%) Monday.

* Flames GM Jay Feaster and president of hockey operations Brian Burke were in the building on Monday, as was Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who doubles as the assistant GM for Team Finland. I’m not sure if Kekalainen was doing further scouting on Jokinen after Jari Kurri watched him yesterday in Minnesota or if the Blue Jackets are looking to make a move. Only time will tell.

Enjoy the next couple days and I will check back in following Thursday’s morning skate to tee up the third meeting of the year between the Jets and Blackhawks.

Categories: Hockey

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