A 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes prevented the Winnipeg Jets from pulling into an eighth place tie with the Washington Capitals, who had lost earlier to Chicago on Sunday.
The win also brought the Hurricanes to within three points of the Jets and five of the Caps. The Hurricanes have now picked up points in 23 of 29, and became the first team that played the day before to come into the MTS Centre and win in regulation, although it was an afternoon game they played Saturday.
Tanner Glass perhaps summed up the Jets' loss best. "Their compete level was better than ours, we played a little too casual. It was definitely not the same level as Friday, we didn't have the same energy."
The first period saw each team not score on a lengthy five on three as the parade to the penalty box took away from the flow of the game. The Jets got the first three power plays and the Hurricanes follwed with the next three.
Winnipeg also surrendered their first short-handed goal at home. The Hurricanes have now scored 11 short handed goals this season.
Jussi Jokinen and Nik Antropov traded first period goals. Antropov has now scored in three straight games, one short of his career high. He has five goals in his last eight games.
Antropov left the game in the second period with a lower body injury and did not return. The Jets also lost Zach Bogosian in the second period due to a major for charging. Bogosian's status for Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) rests in the hands of the league. The league may feel further discipline in the form of a suspension is needed. Opinion on the issue is varied at this point. Some felt he left his feet before the hit, others felt he left his feet on impact.
A power play goal by Eric Staal gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead before Antti Miettinen scored his first two goals of the season to give the Jets a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
On Miettinen's first, Evander Kane extended his point streak to five with an assist, on his second Spencer Machacek picked up his first NHL point with an assist. Machacek was up from St. John's due to Friday's injury to Eric Fehr. Machacek also did very well in a second period scrap with Patrick Dwyer.
The third period belonged to the Hurricanes. They outshot the Jets 19-14, won 17 of 23 face-offs and scored the periods only two goals. On a breakaway, Staal tied the game and with 1:22 left Chad Larose scored the winner. Larose now has six goals in his last eight games.
Blake Wheeler had his six game point streak snapped, it is the third time this season he has gotten to six but been unable to get to seven.
Jets were 0-for-5 on the power play and it was the second game in a row they could not score on a lengthy five on three.
All post game comments showed the team's frustration.
"We were careless with the puck, but I don't think we took them lightly," said Ron Hainsey.
"Tough loss, especially when we had the lead after two. No responsibility. Up 3-2 with 10 minutes left you should win," said Ondrej Pavelec
Coach Claude Noel also chimed in.
"I didn't like the game right from the start, we weren't very good," he said. "Our best players weren't our best players, theirs were. Our emotional level wasn't good enough. To do this to each other is silly. We only had to play 20 minutes. This one will stick with us for a while. If we don't make the playoffs, it will have nothing to do with our road record. There is a price you pay to get into the playoffs. We didn't have very many "A" games tonight. These next games will identify what we are."
The Jets start a three game road trip Tuesday in Pittsburgh, then head into Washington for a Friday game, visit Nashville Saturday, before returning home against Ottawa on Monday. It's not an easy schedule, and that is why this loss hurts so much.