The Jets knew the game in Detroit would not be easy, and it was not. When the final horn sounded it was the Jets worst loss of the year, a 7-1 final. The loss snapped the Jets winning streak at four.
Jets got off to a good start as for the second straight game they scored before the game was 40 seconds old. Brian Little's 10th of the season came at the 35 second mark, and was the first time in 10 games that the Red Wings had given up a first period goal. In the last nine, they had outscored their opponent 15-0 in the first. The goal gave Little goals in three straight games and eight goals in his last 10 games. All 10 of his goals have come in the last 15 games. His point streak is now six and he has points in 11 of his last 12 games. Both his linemates assisted on the goal, giving Blake Wheeler points in six of his last seven (1-7-8), and Evander Kane points in 10 of his last 12 games (10-5-15).
The Red Wings know how to generate offence and if allowed to free-wheel can do damage in a hurry. Leading 2-1 they scored goals 40 seconds apart early in the second and that pretty much was the game.
"Our emotional level was gone after those two quick goals. The emotional tank was empty," stated head coach Claude Noel after the game. "We gave them the middle of the ice, allowed them to play an East-West game and didn't defend well. Those two goals defined the game for me." Asked about what effect the players getting to bed in Detroit at 4am after the home win against Carolina had, he said, "No excuses. Our job is to win games. This is the NHL."
From one very good opponent the Jets go to another. The Minnesota Wild will meet the Jets at the MTS Centre on Tuesday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) as Winnipeg starts a six-game homestand. "We'll regroup and re-energize for Tuesday." Minnesota is the surprise team of the NHL so far as they continue to sit at the top of the standings. Jets have won seven of their last eight home games.
Ondrej Pavelec was in goal until early in the third when Chris Mason came in to close out the game. "We didn't help Pavelec," said Coach Noel. "He did his part to try and keep us above ground. We just had too many mental breakdowns." Jets are still a respectable 8-3-1 in their last 12 games.
With new conferences planned for next year, the Jets will meet the Red Wings five or six times a year. Tonight may have been a good lesson for down the road.
Jets did get Nik Antropov back in the lineup and he did lead the Jets in shots on goal with five. He was back on a line between Andrew Ladd and Kyle Wellwood. As for statistics it was a tough night for the Jets, especially in the plus/minus category and the faceoff department.
Going into the game, the last time the Jets and Red Wings played was the spring of 1996 when the Wings eliminated the Jets in six games - the Jets final game before heading to Phoenix.