In today's NHL, special teams are so important, and as head coach Claude Noel said after the game, "our special teams continue to be a story." It was the difference in the hockey game against the Flyers. Over the past number of games, the Jets penalty killing has been a lot better, but a skilled Flyers power play built some momentum off a two-man advantage and they won the game because of it.
For the third time on this five-game road trip and for the fifth time in the last seven games, the Jets scored first with Evander Kane potting his sixth, while extending his point streak to six. At one point in the first period, the Jets were outshooting the Flyers 12-1, but the second half of the first belonged to Philadelphia and the shots ended 17-12, so the last 16 shots of the period came from the Flyers, including a goal by Brayden Schenn to tie it.
The Jets regrouped in the second period, with a goal from Olli Jokinen to take a 2-1 lead, killed off two penalties, got another goal from Alexander Burmistrov to take a 3-1 lead and all was good for the Jets. Those kills ran the PK to 100 per cent in their last 13 road shorthanded situations. Then disaster struck. Dustin Byfuglien was penalized for high sticking to put the Flyers back on the power play, and Jim Slater concealed the puck with his hand off the face-off, a new penalty in the NHL. As a result, the Jets were two men short for 1:58, the sixth time this season the Jets were down two men. Claude Giroux made it a one-goal game and that's the way the second period ended.
The Jets were 4-0 when leading going into the third, the Flyers were 0-7 when trailing going into the third. The Jets' struggling power play then played a part in the outcome as early in the third, the Jets did create some power play chances but failed to score to regain the two-goal lead. A power play goal by Schenn tied the game, and under three minutes later, another power play goal by Wayne Simmonds gave the Flyers their first lead of the game. What led to the go-ahead goal was Kane mixing it up with two Flyers, yet when the dust settled, Kane had the extra minor. The Jets applied a lot of pressure and again had chances on a late power play but could not find the tying goal. Zach Rinaldo put the game away with an empty-net marker.
The win snapped the Jets road winning streak at three and dropped them to 6-8-1 on the season and 4-4-1 on the road. Take away a couple of empty netters and the Jets have now had nine straight games decided by a goal. The road trip continues Sunday in New Jersey with puck drop at 5pm Eastern time.
Ondrej Pavelec was again very good as the Flyers had 39 shots on goal. Zach Bogosian had seven shots on goal, Jokinen six. The goal by Jokinen was his first in 10 games, and as he came back to the bench, gave it the "monkey off the back" maneuver.
"We played a hard game and if you take away special teams, which I know you can`t, the result is different," continued Noel. "We had made some strides on the penalty kill, so this was a disappointing game. The power play needs work, but we have no time to practice."
Coach Noel was then asked about the explanation he received on a couple of questionable calls (a too many men call, and the other the call on Kane),
"The explanation was not very good," added Noel. "It's difficult for players to know what the line is. What is and is not a penalty. I hope they look at the tape."